I made a sous vide Turkey Confit salad tonight for dinner and it was great but I substituted olive oil for duck fat or lard and don’t know what to call it. Is this Healthy Turkey Confit or since it had artichoke hearts, black olives, arugula and roasted red peppers in the salad do I call it “Turkey Confit Sous Vide Ensalada Italiana” because Turkey is American, Confit and Sous Vide are French and the other ingredients are typically associated with Italian Antipasto. I first called it the International Emperor’s Salad and then shortened it to Emperor’s Salad because few know about the Chinese version. And yes, there was a beloved and cherished American Emperor and to find out who he was jump to the last paragraph.
Once again I returned to the highly technical article on sous vide cooking by Douglas Baldwin for two main reason. He is the only sous vide cook I have stumbled on who talks about higher temperature sous vide and the first meal I built from his knowledge was excellent. I will mention his work a few more times before moving on and feel that it’s too bad his book got panned. The problem is, he is not a detailed recipe writer for novice cooks but a knowledge provider for the more experienced who just need a sense of direction to get started and do the right thing.
16 oz water
2 Tablespoons Salt
1 ½ Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 level tsp thyme
Bay leaf broke in Half
1-3 Slices lemon or Lime
The detailed pictures of brining and coffeepot sous vide are in the discussion of BBQ Ribs.
Once again, the Brine is pretty straight forward. The lime flavor was strong which I really don’t mind but I would probably only use two slices if serving to others. Also, I don’t believe it is necessary to add additional salt to the meat before vacuum packing it. The brine time is also a little difficult for home cooking. Douglas recommends a brine time of 3 to 6 hours plus a cooking time of 8 to 12 ours which makes for a long day if you are trying to work for a living or eat at a reasonable time.
For me the work around was simple and based on my sleeping habits. I usually wake up about 3 am and then drift in and out of sleep for another 2 to 3 hours. So I made the brine a day ahead and then when I woke up at 3 am, placed the turkey leg steaks in the brine and went back to bed. When I left for work at 7am, I put the steaks in my coffeepot sous vide cooker. I ate the meal about 8 pm
When removed from the brine, the turkey steaks were patted dry, sprinkled with fresh ground pepper and placed in the bag with a Tablespoon of Olive Oil.
There are two deviations from traditional Confit, other than the use of sous vide, and both are basd on modern dietary constraints. Confit is a traditional preserving technique based on the preserving effect of salt and smothering the meat in Duck Fat or Lard. I eliminated the salting after patting the steak dry figuring I could add it on the plate if it was really needed which it wasn’t. The olive oil was included as a tenderizing and moisturizing agent because I simply couldn’t concieveg of running out to purchase a one pound block of lard for one meal so decided to make do.
The Antipasto surrounding the turkey steak confit was what I had in the house and looked good. There was locally grown fresh arugula, black olives, roasted red peppers and marinated artichoke hearts. I sprinkled Balsamic Vinegar on the vegetables and did nothing extra to the meat. The confit was perfectly done and melted in my mouth. This was truly a salad fit for an Emperor and in my case it was a pleasant dinner
The American Emperor was Norton I, Emperor of the United States, Protector of Mexico, Joshua A. Norton, who reigned in San Francisco from 1859 to 1890. He lived in a fine hotel, was well respected by his subjects and ate in all the finest restaurants for free. I believe he would have loved Emperor’s Salad and believe you should pay tribute to the man by checking out his history.