I have to admit that I am fan of the show Ancient Aliens – especially Giorgio Tsoukalos and his crazy hair. If you aren’t familiar with either, just do an image search on Google for “Aliens” and you will see what I mean.
I also like to tinker and build things, and recently I built my own sous vide controller. For those of you who have not yet been exposed to the wonder that is sous vide, it is essentially cooking vacuum sealed food in a very precisely controlled water bath. Chances are if you have eaten in a restaurant recently, at least one of your dishes was prepared this way. The reason is simple, the tight temperature control allows one to cook food at exactly the right temperature very slowly so that food cooks evenly all the way through and cannot overcook. Once the food is fully cooked, it is usually finished on a grill or in a skillet to give it an appetizing appearance and external texture.
So here I was, with a brand new gadget to play with, watching my favorite show of wacky theorists when inspiration struck. The result was this recipe. If you don’t have a sous vide controller, you can purchase a relatively inexpensive one that hangs off the edge of a pot on Amazon such as this one.
- 4 large russet potatoes
- 1/4 cup CaJohn’s Elixir of Purira (or hot sauce/seasonings of your choice)
- 1/4 cup Frog Bone Bayou Remoulade (optional)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
After thoroughly washing and scrubbing the potatoes, cut the ends off and stand upright on a cutting board. Making four vertical cuts, fashion the potato into a tall rectangle. They are meant to evoke ancient megaliths, so there is no need to be neat or perfectly straight. Be sure to save the scraps for yummy “rubble” bits.
Place each rectangle in a plastic zipper lock sandwich bag. Place “rubble” in a couple of bags as well. To each bag, add a small amount of the Elixir of Purira (or your favorite hot sauce or sprinkled seasonings) and then seal after drawing the air out with a straw to create a light vacuum. It is also possible to use household vacuum sealer bags.
NOTE: When a vacuum is created in the bag, any liquid contents are going to spread quickly, and head for the straw. It does not take a lot of liquid to get a good coating, and it might not be pleasant to get a mouthful of liquid when trying to create a vacuum. A little goes a long way.
In a 185 degree Fahrenheit sous vide bath (mine is a re-purposed old crock pot with the aforementioned DIY controller), drop in the bagged potatoes and let cook for an hour. Remember to monitor the water level closely since at this temperature, a significant amount of water will be lost to evaporation. Towards the last 10-15 minutes, heat up a grill or griddle to prepare for the next step.
In this example, I used a stove-top griddle heated to medium-high heat and angled the potatoes diagonally after removing them from the sous vide bath and plastic bags. After 2 minutes I turned them so as to line up the grill line marks as best as possible. repeat every two minutes until there are grill marks on all four sides. Don’t forget to grill the “rubble” as well.
Stack the potato “blocks” in any interesting, ancient temple-like fashion, optionally drizzle with remoulade, and serve.