Sous Vide! What the hake?
Hake is a flaky fish with a texture that is less firm than cod or haddock. While a delicious, healthy, and sustainable Maine seafood, some may be hesitant to cook it because it is so flaky and delicate. Hake is managed by the New England Fishery Management Council, the stock is healthy, and no overfishing is occurring. You can learn more about hake and other Maine seafood at Maine Sea Grant's Maine Seafood Guide.
So, what the hake is sous vide? From the Anova website:
Once limited to the pros, sous vide (pronounced sue-veed) is a cooking technique that utilizes precise temperature control to deliver consistent, restaurant-quality results. High-end restaurants have been using sous vide cooking for years to cook food to the exact level of doneness desired, every time. The technique recently became popular for home cooks with the availability of affordable and easy-to-use sous vide precision cooking equipment.
Sous vide, which means “under vacuum” in French, refers to the process of vacuum-sealing food in a bag, then cooking it to a very precise temperature in a water bath. This technique produces results that are impossible to achieve through any other cooking method.
"Impossible to achieve through any other cooking method" is a lofty statement but one that is not untrue about the sous vide. It takes any worry that you might have of over-cooking fish out of the equation. And, like with other cooking techniques using fish, you can even cook frozen fish using sous vide.
It's a game-changer.
You can purchase a variety of sous vides on the internet. (I used Wirecutter to help make the best choice.) The sous vide connects to your phone via an app. The app includes recipes so you can easily search for a recipe that includes whatever ingredients you have (in this case hake), prepare the recipe in a sealed bag (I used a Stasher bag because it's reusable.), place it in a pot of water with the sous vide, and then just press "cook this" on the app and, well, that's it.
To prepare the hake it took about 35 minutes total. That includes putting salt and pepper on the hake, placing it in the bag, letting the water come to temperature, cooking the fish, and taking it out of the bag.
And it was some of the best hake I've ever made!
Hake can be delicate and sometimes when I make it, it can fall apart a bit and that's OK because we often eat hake in fish tacos or a recipe that doesn't require the fillet to be whole. But the sous vide hake fillet held together when I took it out of the bag and it tasted absolutely delicious.
The following evening for dinner I reheated it in a pan and served it with potatoes, salt pork, pickled onions, and fat rendering. Better known to fishing families as corned hake. (I just didn't salt the hake.)
Do you have a sous vide device that you cook seafood with at home?
Tell me all about it: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep an eye out for more information about an upcoming project we are doing, Fishermen Feeding Mainers
The Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association recently received funding to support local fishermen and distribute fish to local food pantries. The funding is being used to support fishing businesses, donate seafood to food banks, and to cover the costs of processing the fish to make the distribution, storage, and preparation easier for food banks.
Thank you to our partners in this effort including fishermen Randy Cushman, Brian Pearce, and Eben Nieuwkerk; the Portland Fish Exchange; Catch Together; Upstream Trucking; Gulf of Maine Sashimi, Inc.; Freedom Fish; Harbor Fish Market; Nova Seafood; Department of Education; and, Good Shepard Food Bank.