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.
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
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.)