Technique – Compression
Discover a technique used in modern day kitchens that will increase the flavour of your chosen food 10 fold.
A few words on compression and how it can be utilized in your kitchens to achieve results.
Lots of this talk of compression has been flying around kitchens since ‘sous vide’ has again become fashionable. Even now as I write, sous vide cookery is actually being shunned by some chefs, reciting their wish for individuality as many are now on this well ridden bandwagon, sous vide another time, compression now.
Compression draws on one of the same pieces of equipment we use when cooking under pressure but does not use the water bath in exposing the product to heat.
I will give you an example in the recipe I have documented in picture.
Steamed date pudding, salted caramel, toffeed apple, clove ice cream
Take a fine dice of apple, or in fact any precision cut of apple for that fact. I choose apple for my dessert of steamed date pudding. It needs some fruit, to compliment flavoured already in the pipeline, so I choose apple. I make a light toffee, add lemon juice (acidity) and some vanilla bean; some water is added to achieve a more flowing liquid as well.
With this fine dice I can simply toss the apple among the toffee and then serve along side…but I have a thing about injecting as much flavour into my food as I can. (as chefs our food of course should ‘taste’ good, it should have flavour) With compression..hey presto I can achieve further flavour than the chef next door.
The method involved is to add a little of my toffee to the apple and place into a vacuum bag, then to compress with the use of a cryovac machine, as you would seal some meat etc for sous vide cookery. What is happening to my apple is I’m opening up the cells walls of the fruit expanding them, then when the oxygen is removed from the bag and pressure is applied the flavours in my toffee is then injected into those open cells. Simple hey?
The result is a well flavoured apple garnish to place on my steamed toffee pudding. The apple appears to have turned somewhat translucent and also takes on a light ‘green apple’ colour.
Compression can be used with many fruits and vegetables (also see the image gallery for some strawberry under compression) Experiment with the flavours and ingredients but beware, the amount of added flavour ingredients needed is minimal. The flavour is increased many fold with this. Compression can also be used for marination of meats to be then cooked en sous vide or then removed from the bag and cooked with your chosen cookery method. It also a great technique that can be used for brining meats.
Give it a try; cooking is all about experimentation, getting your food to another level.