Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide

Overview

Under Pressure, writes Harold McGee in his introduction to this, the first book written in English on cooking sous vide, “introduces cooks to one of the most important culinary innovations of modern times.”

An uncommonly grand claim coming from so precise a scientist and writer, but such is the power of this controversial method. “Thomas Keller and his chefs,” McGee continues, “illustrate the powers of precision heating with dozens of dishes ...

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Overview

Under Pressure, writes Harold McGee in his introduction to this, the first book written in English on cooking sous vide, “introduces cooks to one of the most important culinary innovations of modern times.”

An uncommonly grand claim coming from so precise a scientist and writer, but such is the power of this controversial method. “Thomas Keller and his chefs,” McGee continues, “illustrate the powers of precision heating with dozens of dishes that wouldn’t be as fine, or even conceivable, without it.”

Sous vide method comprises a group of techniques that allows the cook to realize flavors and textures that no other cooking method can. By sealing food in plastic and submerging it at exact temperatures for minutes or for days—food that is traditionally braised, sautéed, roasted, or poached—we can attain astonishing results. The tough cuts of meat we once braised in simmering stock can now be cooked sous vide to a medium-rare pink, juicy and meltingly tender. Lamb loin, veal tenderloin, and other larger cuts of meat, difficult to cook evenly, emerge uniform throughout. Delicate fish is enhanced and the margin of error reduced. Vegetables and fruits, cooked in an oxygen-free environment, remain vividly colored. And, because the food is sealed in plastic, its flavor is never lost to the cooking water or the atmosphere. Carrots taste more like carrots, apples more like apples. Small amounts of herbs and other aromatics can have dramatic effects. Cold techniques are valuable as well. Marinades used with meats en sous vide are powerfully effective. Various fruits and vegetables, such as melons, cucumbers, and pineapple, become new when compressed.

Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide is an invaluable contribution to our culinary world at a time of unprecedented interest in food and cooking, both in the restaurant kitchen and at home. The most critical aspect of sous vide lies in discovering what combination of time and temperature achieves the most sublime results. The answers, as discovered and practiced during the past decade by the chefs of The French Laundry and per se, two of the most respected restaurants in the world, are all here, within the innovative recipes from Keller’s landmark restaurants.

Under Pressure is a source of instruction, technique, and recipes for anyone who wants to experience the new ideas sous vide makes possible, inspiration for what is possible and what might be.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The origins of sous vide cooking, or vacuum-packing foods and cooking them at precise, relatively low temperatures for long periods, may have been largely in frozen convenience foods, but it has become standard in top kitchens worldwide, notably Keller's own. Now, Keller aims to demonstrate the technique to a wider swath of cooks-not the masses, but at least those who can afford this lavish volume and the sous vide equipment. One need not cook the exact recipes (which are unaltered from the restaurant's) to be inspired by Keller's careful yet whimsical creations, such as a cuttlefish "tagliatelle" with palm hearts and nectarine or squab with piquillo peppers, marcona almonds, fennel and date sauce. And Keller, with several of his chefs as well as "curious cook" Harold McGee, takes pains in the introduction to explain sous vide fundamentals, arguing persuasively that it is not a fad but an important technique that allows unparalleled control over how ingredients are heated and what flavors and textures result. Still, at least until the equipment is more affordable, most readers will admire this gorgeous book on their coffee tables, from the simple beauty of photos of ingredients in their natural states to plates with a course's elements so artfully arranged they would not be out of place in a modern art museum. (Dec.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579653514
  • Publisher: Artisan
  • Publication date: 11/17/2008
  • Pages: 295
  • Sales rank: 68,028
  • Product dimensions: 11.30 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller, author of The French Laundry Cookbook, Bouchon, Under Pressure, Ad Hoc at Home, and Bouchon Bakery, has thirteen restaurants and bakeries in the United States. He is the first and only American chef to have two Michelin Guide three-star-rated restaurants, The French Laundry and per se, both of which continue to rank among the best restaurants in America and the world. In 2011 he was designated a Chevalier of The French Legion of Honor, the first American male chef to be so honored.

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Table of Contents

Forward by Bruno Goussault
Introduction: A Powerful New Cooking Tool by Harold McGee
Precision of Execution
Why Sous Vide?
My Path to Sous Vide
The Chefs
The Fundamentals
Vegetables and Fruits
Fish and Shellfish
Poultry and Meat
Variety Meats
Cheese and Desserts
Basics
Product, Temperature, and Time

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 6, 2009

    Teaches Precision

    If you have never cooked Sous Vide, it will change your life. Keller's book is a semi professional introduction. It teaches the precision necessary to be consistent at inordinately high levels. <BR/>You can try Sous Vide by dropping your product into a plastic bag and pushing into cold water to squeeze out 95% of the air and ziplocking it at the last moment. Set a large pot of water half off the burner and with a candy thermometer you have made a make shift immersion circulator. You can sample the incredible richness of food cooked at lower temperatures where the proteins and enzymes and consequent flavors have not been trashed. As Harold McGee puts it, the organoleptic properties of food are preserved.<BR/>You can also buy a simple vacuum bagger at Doug Care for $200 and an immersion circulator on E bay for $250. As you perfect your understanding you cannot imagine the change it will make in how you prepare and think about food. It is a revolution of flavor and thought that supersedes the Escoffier mentality of French food.<BR/><BR/>Keller's temperatures are a little high to my mind but this book is really worth it. I read it every day. Joan Roca wrote the first book on Sous VIdea few years ago, but Keller's book is more nuanced, accessible and evolved. Roaca is a great chef, very gifted. Harold McGee's book is essential to understand what you are doing in terms of shifting collagen into gelatin through long cooking periods. In sous vide there are 16 recipes on how to boil and egg from Joel Robuchon to Herve This. Keller is very smart and if you are interested in the future of food, it is important to read this.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    Interesting Not Practical

    Interesting to know, but not practical for the home cook. There are easier methods to obtain the same flavors.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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