The Hestan guys just invited their brand ambassadors to a cooking/photo competition to show off their skills and their hestan skillets! and as you already know… that would impossible for me to pass. They facilitated the recipe which is great because I don’t cook by following recipes so this was different and really fun. It’s a recipe by chef Brad Spence whose culinary career is outside the scope of this post but let me tell you we’re talking about one of the best chefs in the country. He’s critically acclaimed and has a vast knowledge of Italian cooking. Go check out Amis Trattoria’s or Vetri’s websites when you have a change. Pretty wild huh?
I love rice and I love seafood. Let’s just say it was about time we made some paella here at that other cooking blog.
This taco might be a bit different from your usual asada taco but amazing nonetheless and if you love meat and you love tacos and you love sous vide cooking… then, yes, you must try this.
By definition most asada tacos feature carne asada which is grilled or pan-seared flank steak. I didn’t have any and as much as I love flank steak I tend to take sides with the less popular tougher cuts when cooked sous vide. Why? because they can be transformed into something that’s quite possibly superior in flavor and texture via sous vide. And you’re still within rare to medium rare range… which is just amazing.
Yeah, that’s the thing… I love rare or medium rare steak and without sous vide cooking, it’s nearly impossible to achieve the doneness level I’m looking for when cooking these tougher cuts. You can choose to sous vide your steak to whatever level you want but most of my posts on this blog are about applying the least amount of heat to cook ingredients. Just enough to ensure the food is cooked, the texture is what I like and proper pasteurization is achieved.
Enough with this sous vide babbling. Get your gear ready because this is extremely simple once you have all the components ready. This is not a recipe per se. More like a reference guide if you’re interested in this kind of cooking. Let’s do this.
This should be a pretty quick one guys. As you know, brining is one of my things. I’m hoping to write a whole post about brining in depth (no pun intended) soon. Today let’s keep it simple. Just grab a beautiful round tip (you probably just want a portion of it, they can be big) at your butcher shop. A good size would be 3 to 4 pounds. Trim any excess fat if need be and let’s go.
Yep… hot sauce making has taken over my life and so has fermentation. If you haven’t tried either and are hesitant well.. put that hesitation aside and dive in. In my opinion fermented hot sauces are superior in taste to their vinegar-acidified counterparts. There’s that extra complexity in the flavor that just can’t be described. And I’m not even gonna get into the whole healthy aspect of eating fermented foods. I’ll leave it at… probiotic, etc, etc. This is gonna be a really quick post guys… there’s seriously nothing to it. Let’s make some awesome hot sauce.
One important fact, at least important to me: This is the 4th taco post on this blog which could possibly be interpreted as a lack of interest in the subject. Quite the opposite. Tacos are a pretty standard in my daily diet, specially recently. I love them. As you know, they’re easy to make and there are so few rules involved that they’re also almost anxiety free, specially if you fear the criticism of the purists out there. I don’t mean to oversimplify them. There are successful and disastrous tacos out there but if you keep things simple, work with good ingredients and follow good cooking technique expect success. If you want to take a look at some more convoluted and risky if not exciting taco recipes… check out my sous vide lamb shoulder asada tacos or my second taco recipe, the wonderful sous vide swordfish taco. Anyways, get about 20 shrimps at the store and follow me.
Making mayo at home is one of those practices that have fallen out of fashion. The whole raw egg/salmonella thing can be intimidating but it’s pretty easy to find pasteurized eggs in groceries stores. If you can’t find them you could still pasteurize them at home but it will require sous vide gear. If you’re interested you should check out my article on sous vide egg pasteurization which also deals with mayo pasteurization which in a nutshell talks about listeria and salmonella safe log reduction levels by application of heat bellow egg setting temperature. But if you wanna skip all that hassle, try getting pasteurized eggs.
Venezuelans like their tender cuts of beef lean and medium rare. No fancy seasonings or brines, etc… just salt, maybe pepper. A great golden crust is a must and that’s pretty much it. When it comes to side dishes… delicious fried yucca is pretty common and so are a few fresh sauces. We like guacamoles and guasacacas, chimichurris are also pretty standard. Now when it comes to bread, that’s hardly ever there. Instead we have mini arepas which are a traditional staple of steak houses back home. Always deep fried and always paired with a cool bowl of natilla which is similar to crema latina. Depending on where you live you might easily find natilla/crema latina or not at all. Sour cream is a close substitution.
I love lacto-fermented vegetables. Homemade sauerkraut and kimchi are fun to make and one of the first things I got into when I started this cooking blog. Along with bread making, vegetable fermentation has always been fascinating to me. Recently I’ve started experimenting with a broader spectrum of vegetables, spices, seasonings… the combinations are endless and the flavor profile that can be achieved are incredibly complex. Fermentation, aside from all the health benefits and the preservation perks simply makes things taste awesome.
If you’ve ever cooked pork loin this way you know it makes a terrific cold-cut. It also makes me wish I owned one of those fancy meat slicers. Since it’s cooked sous vide it’s extremely juicy. Some of that juiciness comes from gelatine/collagen so in order to get extreme juiciness you probably wanna apply some heat. I’ve prepared pork this way in past occasions (see my previous boneless pork centre loin sous vide post) usually sticking to pasteurization-to-core cooking times which are usually less than 12 hours but out of convenience I decided to let it go overnight. I was a little worried the long cooking time would have a negative impact on the texture but to my surprise it was actually an improvement. Another thing worth mentioning is that one if not the most important reason behind me buying this meat was the beautiful fat layer covering the top of it. I had to. There was nothing I could do.