Regina Schrambling in the LA Times, realizes what barbecue pit masters hold true and dear to their hearts: cooking meat slowly and at low temperatures "changes everything for the better — the texture turns more tender, the flavor becomes more concentrated". Here's one chef's take on slow cooking at home:

Chef Govind Armstrong uses sous-vide at Table 8 in Los Angeles and Miami but has developed a technique for home cooks that requires no special equipment, let alone 18 hours of simmering. (Although low temperatures might be nervous-making, Armstrong points out that anything over 140 degrees is enough to head off bacteria.) He simply places shrimp or scallops in a zippered freezer bag with a little clarified butter, and poaches the contents slowly in warm water.

While regular poaching leaches flavor into the pot, his method traps the seafood juices inside the bag and concentrates them. You could consider it the poor man's sous-vide if the results were not so astonishing with such low-tech gear.

"This is the easiest way to approximate sous-vide," Armstrong says. "And the beauty of it is that you can reuse the butter to sauté fish or make an amazing hollandaise."

Schrambling includes a recipe for Armstrong's slow-cooked shrimp with instructions on his technique, as well as two more recipes for slow-cooked salmon and chipotle ribs, if you'd like to give what she talks about a good try yourself.

More on sous-vide: Sara Dickerman in Slate on the joy of cooking with plastic bags, Amanda Hesser in the NYT on food under pressure.

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