Crocodile is the true chicken of the sea in my opinion. I’ve been testing out a few recipes with this ingredient (can be bought frozen at certain stores here in Vancouver). The flavor is fairly unique but if you asked anyone who’s had it before, they would probably say it tastes like chicken and fish at the same time. And that’s a fairly accurate description I gotta say. The flavor of a crocodile steak is wonderful. I bet dinosaurs were tasty too.
For this recipe, I opted to cook the croc steak sous vide. It took a few tries to get a nice texture, and I could probably experiment more. Crocodile tail meat is very lean which usually means, cook it fast! I did what pretty much I do every time I want to cook something new, turn to the internet and google stuff up. I couldn’t find much about how to cook this thing. Maybe one sous-vide video recipe, but the information wasn’t clear… I gave up. I researched more traditional recipes. I found some stews, and also, some recipes that called for a quick sear and done. Kind of contradicting really. I figured I’d skip any stewing avenues and focus on the fast approach. The first test was directly over a hot searing pan. The result was ok… but too chewy, like really chewy. It definitely overcooks easily. Anyways, for the rest of my testing, I turned to a more reliable cooking approach: sous vide.
My sous vide tests were as follows:
62C 3h. Really dry, dryer than my pan test.
47C 1h. Really chewy, but moist… ok.., getting somewhere.
55C 3h. Tender and moist. Nice texture. I stopped my testing. Ran out of croc steaks.
But I would like to try 52 3h so if you do, please report back with your findings!.
Anyways, here is the rest of the recipe, hope you enjoy:
Ingredients (serves 2):
2 crocodile tail steaks
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 fennel bulb
1/3 C pedro ximenez sherry vinegar
Salt and Sugar.
Green onion, radishes and cherry tomatoes for garnishing.
The croc sous vide.
In a plastic bag, add the seeds of the 1/2 vanilla bean. 4 Tsp of kosher salt, 2 Tsp of sugar. Shake well. Add the crock steaks to the bad and shake well again, making sure the mixture is evenly distributed over the steaks. Allow curing overnight in the fridge. When ready to cook. Rinse the steaks. Ready up for the water bath. Make sure your water temperature is already at 55C before you begin. Place the steaks in a plastic bag with about 1/3 cup olive oil. Vacuum seal if possible. Otherwise, the water displacement method would work just fine. Cook for 3 hours. Remove the baggies from the water bath. Reserve.
Prepping everything else before you sear the steaks.
Just before you’re ready to eat, make sure all the garnishes are ready, sliced and laid out orderly in your work area.
Searing the steaks.
Remove the steaks from their plastic baggies and dry with paper towels. This is extremely important. In a good pan, add enough vegetable oil (not olive oil) to fill about 2mm-3mm. Place over high heat, and let the pan get really hot. The oil will begin to smoke. That’s when the steaks should go in. Be careful, and lay the steaks on the bottom of the pan. If the steaks were dried properly, there should be minimal oil spatter. This will increase as the steaks begin to heat up and some of the internal juices reach the pan. Sear both sides, no more than 3 minutes per side, or until golden and beautiful. Remove the steaks from the pan and allow them to rest on a cutting board for a good 10 minutes before slicing. Remove the oil from the pan. Return the pan to the stove, lower the heat to medium. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, reduce until bubbly, add a little sugar, about a teaspoon. Give it another minute or so. Remove the pan from the heat.
Slice the croc steaks. Place the slices over the plates, intermix some of the fennel slices as well. Decorate with the tomato and radish slices. Add the sherry vinegar reduction carefully, over the dish. Add the green onion. Done.
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I didnt even know you could make that!!! Amazing!!!
:)!!! thank you!!!
Stunning. I never thought crocodile could look so delicate. I’ve only tried crocodile once, a long time ago, it was on a pizza and I thought it tasted like chicken and fish. Glad to know I wasn’t so far off.
Due to the chewiness, I would have considered long and low…55C is very low and 3 hours is very long. Looks like it paid off. I also wonder if like fish, it can be tenderised with citrus?
Im so glad you enjoyed the post. Yeah, I wonder what would happen, like croc ceviche? it might work, the raw steak looks very much like a flaky fish. In sous vide time, 3 hours is actually not that long due to how gentle the cooking temperature is. Its great to hear from you! I’ve been hiding from the blogging world for a while, keep promising to come back more frequently but I don’t want to force it. One thing tho, I’ve not once stopped cooking 🙂
You certainly make this look very appetizing. Good job! Is it crocodile or alligator btw? here in Houston, TX we can buy frozen alligator in lots of stores and in Louisiana it is very popular. Personally I do not like it much but I’d be willing to try your version 🙂
Thanks for your nice comment 🙂 It is crocodile btw, imported from Australia. I wonder i there is a significant difference in taste between american alligator and aussie croc. I’ve never had alligator in the US, next time Im around, I will definitely do!
Wow! What a nice surprise, Paul! Hadn’t seen you post anything for a while and then out of the blue, on the train home, I see this wonderful post! Welcome back! I love that you cooked the croc sous-vide and tried different temperatures. I’ve never seen croc around here, but I will look for it. Hope all is well!
Thank you Stefan! I know, I’ve been MIA a lot lately 🙁 I hope I can go back to posting more frequently. I haven’t checked out your latest stuff, and I feel horrible. But I do go to your site every time I need a corroborate cooking times for sous vide or authentic italian recipes!
Hi Paul, thanks so much again for posting this. It was the inspiration for me to try croc sous-vide myself and I loved it! Thanks to your experimenting, my first try was already great (3h at 55C). Based on prior experience with finding the right temperature I made an educated guess that 12h at 55C would be even better, and that was correct. It was still as juicy, but more tender. I hope you can find some time to blog, because I miss your posts (and your comments on mine). Don’t feel bad though if you can’t.
Stefan! this is really cool that you tried the croc sous vide! Sorry I’ve been gone for a little while, I was in LA visiting my girlfriend and sister, and without my photo gear I didn’t have a chance to document any recipes while I was away. I had a wonderful time in LA. Now I’m back and I will be getting back to blogging as soon as I find the time which shouldn’t be difficult. Really flattering that you tried this recipe and thank you so much for your ping back, that’s awesome 🙂 I can’t wait to try your suggested cooking time of 12 hours, really curious actually haha! I had some amazing food in LA, and did get a chance to cook a few things during that time. I have a couple of new cookbooks, one of them is from the Melisse restaurant which Julia got me for my birthday, signed by the Chef, Josiah Citrin himself. Really wonderful gift and I want to try to cook something from that book and blog about that dinner experience which was amazing. Great to hear from you as always! Take care Stefan! More cooking to come!
Well this is a dish that I don’t think I’ll find the ingredients for here in rural New Hampshire but I know I certainly would have enjoyed this dish if I had been sitting at your table. 😀