Cod in White Wine Sous-Vide

This is an improved version of the Sous-vide cod with braised fennel and white wine sauce that I made more than a year ago. Apart from what I’ve learned about plating and photography since then, the improvements in the recipe are:

  • the cod is cured before cooking sous-vide to improve flavor and texture;
  • the cod is now cooked in the sauce of white wine and shallots, which will impart a nice hint of the wine to the fish;
  • a different temperature for cooking the cod: 41C/106F instead of 54C/129F in an attempt to make it less flaky.

A further improvement may be to include some concentrated fish stock in the sauce as well. The fish still flakes (cod is that way, it almost flakes when it’s still raw) but I prefer this texture over the previous version. The fish is very tender and succulent. If you use the same or a similar wine in the sauce, the wine pairing will be amazing. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: do not use bad wine for cooking. The quality of the wine will determine the quality of the dish to a great extent, so please don’t think it is a waste of a good wine to use it for cooking. The advantage of poaching sous-vide is that you need much less of the wine to surround the fish with it, so you can use 1/3 of a nice bottle for the sauce and drink the remaining 2/3 of the bottle with it.


For 2 servings

2 cod steaks, about 150 grams (.33 lbs) each

250 ml (1 cup) good dry full-bodied white wine

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sugar

1 shallot, chopped

50 grams (4 Tbsp) clarified butter, divided

50 grams (4 Tbsp) butter

braised fennel as a side


Combine the salt and sugar in a small bowl and stir to mix. Rub the cod on all sides with this curing mix and refrigerate for one hour to cure. For best results, vacuum seal the cod with the cure.

Heat 2 tablespoons clarified butter in a saucepan and add the shallot.

Sauté over medium low heat until the shallots are golden, about 15 minutes.

Add the white wine.

Let this simmer until only half of the wine is left.

After the cod has cured for an hour, rinse off the salt and sugar and pat dry with paper towels.

Prepare the water bath at 41C/106F. Put the cod in sous-vide zip pouch and allow the sauce to cool to around 41C/106F.

Add the sauce to the fish in the pouch. Seal it with as little air as possible by submerging it into the water bath and sealing it when the whole bag has been submerged. Cook 30-60 minutes at 41C/106F. (This is one of the nice things about sous-vide cooking: the fish will be fine anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes.)

Take the fish out of the pouch (gently as it flakes easily) and allow to cool slightly. Sieve the sauce into a saucepan.

Cook the sauce over medium high heat to concentrate it.

Take off the heat and mount the sauce with butter by whisking small flakes of cold butter into the hot sauce. The sauce should become thicker and shiny.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons clarified in a non-stick frying pan over very high heat. Add the cod and cook for 1 minute.

Turn over gently (flaking is almost inevitable) and cook the other side over very high heat for 1 minute as well to give the cod a nice sear on both sides.

Serve on warm plates with the sauce and a side of braised fennel, and a glass of the same white wine.


17 thoughts on “Cod in White Wine Sous-Vide

  1. Those were 2 beautiful cod fillets, Stefan, and they’re cooked to perfection. Your plating in that final photo is equally flawless. This was another great post.


  2. Very nice. I can see how the curing process would add to the result. Rather like the Japanese technique of curing fish briefly with miso before grilling.


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