Leave it to Ted Stelzenmuller, the chef/owner who woos diners with mac-and-cheese-and-chocolate, foie-gras poutine, and fried s'mores at Jack's Bistro, to introduce a new twist to his menu—sous vide cuisine.
While five-star chefs in New York and Washington have been using this method (pronounced soo-VEED) for years, most Baltimore restaurants haven't embraced the cooking technique, which means "under vacuum" in French.
Essentially, ingredients are sealed in a plastic bag and cooked in hot, but not boiling, water for a certain amount of time, depending on what is being prepared. The result is a moist, flavorful piece of meat or seafood with a succulent texture.
On a recent visit, we found the sous vide pork loin and "steamed" shrimp (pictured) to be incredibly juicy and tender, indeed.
Stelzenmuller says one drawback of using the technique initially is the start-up expense. A vacuum sealer can run from $3,000-6,000; an immersion circulator can go from $900-2,000; and the price of bags can add up, too. "It costs a lot of money to do it properly," the chef says. "Since I pay the bills, I convinced myself it was wise."