My friend Bob recently began a new diet and challenged me to cook a Paleo friendly meal. Always up for a challenge, I eagerly accepted! Now, to figure out what the hay Paleo is…
If you’re unfamiliar with the Paleo diet like I was, here’s the skinny: Eat naturally by way of lean meats, vegetables and fruits. Think of foods that cavemen (and women) ate back in the days of hunters and gatherers. This style of eating is an extremely healthy and nutritious way to dine.
I took this opportunity to try a new method of cooking as well: Sous-Vide. Although this style of cooking has been around for decades, Sous-Vide is a growing culinary trend. The idea is to throw all of your ingredients in a bag, seal it up and submerge your food in the temperature at which it is fully cooked (for example, fish is fully cooked at 140 degrees F, so you would keep the temperature of your water at 140 degrees F).
There is no need to worry about unevenness of cooking because it is never exposed to a high cooking temperature. As long as you keep your water temperature regulated, this method is practically fool-proof! Clean up is super easy too (I LOVE doing less dishes!)
And now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for… the recipe!
Digital probe thermometer (check for temperature accuracy in a glass of ice water)
4 medium to large zucchini
Create a brine with 5% salt and 95% water and leave fish in brine for 1 hour. Remove and pat dry on paper towel. Brining is optional but mighty tasty if you have the time.
Fill stockpot with water (a couple inches short of being full), insert probe thermometer into water and place on medium-high burner until water temperature reaches 140 degrees F. Once the water reaches the target temperature, turn the heat down to a low simmer. Keep the water temperature as steady as possible.
Place the fish, tarragon, thyme, lemon or lime juice, olive oil and butter if you're using it into the ziplock bag. Dunk the open bag into the water while still holding onto the open lip. Allow the water to force all of the air out of the open top and seal the bag. You may even want to suck out some of the air with your mouth if there is some leftover air in the bag. Pull the bag out to see if the bag is sticking to your ingredients and drop your entire bag into the water.
Let the fish cook in water for 20 minutes (you will need an extra 10-20 minutes if your fish is frozen), covered, checking the temperature regularly. Don't worry if you have to leave your fish to do other chores (dishes, bathroom ...facebook) because the fish will not overcook as long as you keep the temperature under 140 degrees F.
In the mean time, boil some salted water in another large pot. Slice your zucchini into long, thin strips with a vegetable peeler. Start on one side of the zucchini, and once you hit the seeded part in the middle, flip the zucchini over and continue on that side. Toss the core of the zucchini (the seeds will mostly fall apart in the boiling water anyway). Boil the strips for two minutes, until heated. Drain, sprinkle with a bit of salt and set aside (give it a squeeze of lemon or lime juice too if you have some leftover).
Pull the fish from the bag and plate everything in an amazingly creative way (I have yet to figure out how to do that). Pour a bit of the bag contents on the fish, sprinkle with chile powder for color and serve.