In French, sous vide means “under vacuum” and refers to a cooking method of vacuum-sealing (removing all of the air) food in a plastic bag and cooking it at a precisely-regulated temperature. Popular among restaurant chefs, especially those who love gadgets, this technique is ideal for home cooks because it takes the mystery out of knowing when your fish is cooked and cooked to your personal preference.
1 portion salmon (10 to 12 ounces), pin bones removed, cut into 2 equal pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 small garlic clove, grated
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Prep the Sous Vide
Place the salmon on a plate, sprinkle liberally with salt, and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
In a deep pot filled with water, set up the immersion circulator according to the manufacturer’s specifications, and preheat it to the desired temperature (see chart below). In a small bowl, combine the butter, thyme leaves, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Rinse the salmon and pat dry. Spread the butter mixture all over the salmon then transfer to a resealable plastic or silicone bag. To remove the air from the bag, close the bag, leaving about 1 inch opened. Lower the bag into the water, stopping before you get to the top. The water pressure will push out the air in the bag (this is called displacement). Seal the bag.
Sous Vide the Salmon
Lower the sealed bag into the water. To keep the bag from moving around, use a clothes pin or binder clip to affix the bag to the side of the pot. Cook to the desired texture (see chart below).
Finish and Serve
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the panko and Parmesan and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Transfer the salmon to plates and top with garlic-herb butter and toasted panko. Serve right away. For crisp salmon skin, before topping with the butter and panko, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Carefully add the salmon, skin side down, and cook, gently pressing to flatten, until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes.