It is not sous-vide, but I decided to try a cooking technique described by a small boat sailor: an omelet prepared with a minimum of dishes on a small gimballed stove. It worked, with some caveats.
First I should explain why it is not sous-vide:
- It is not intended to be an air-tight sack. (Even small amounts of air result in temperature differentials.)
- While the temperature it is cooked at is reasonably precise — 100°C/212°F — that is just a convenient side-effect of cooking in boiling water.
- The goal is to cook quickly, not slowly, with safety and fuel economy as the most important factors. Sous-vide intends to preserve texture and other qualities, often by cooking extremely slowly.
So, here is the basic overview. Put a pot of water on to boil – leaving room to float your baggy of scrambled eggs in it of course. Open a zipper-type baggy. Crack a couple eggs into it, break the yolks and mix briefly. Add a few other ingredients and spice to suit, mixing thoroughly. Close the baggy, gently squeezing out the air but not worrying too much about it (remember, practicing to do this on a little boat bouncing around in a seaway!) Slip it into the pot without sloshing water over to put out the burner/scald yourself. Boil about 5 minutes. Voilà, a quick protein dish.
Remember, this is intended to be aboard a boat where, if you are lucky, your cooler retains ice for the first several days of your couple weeks of cruising. Nothing is ‘cold’ like your refrigerator at home. And you do not have frozen cooked bacon to crumble into your baggy of refrigerated eggs, cheese, dollop of crême, thinly sliced onion…
My two eggs required a solid 10 minutes of light boiling, unlike the tropical-room-temperature ingredients used in the video I had watched. Actually, it took more like 15 minutes because I kept pulling it out of the water and opening to check if the middle was still runny.
But! it was quite tasty. And this method had a cool side-benefit: being cooked in a largish pot rather than the cramped little one which can fit in the gimballed camp stove, the baggy formed the scramble into a nice log shape which rolled up in a burrito beautifully. Since making tortillas aboard is one of the few ways I know to make bread without an oven, this may become critical!
Here are the cool things about this meal, from a sailor’s point of view:
- Almost no dishes to clean after. One fork, the knife used to slice some onion, and the cutting board.
- Done with planning, the stove fuel does double duty – cooks the meal and heats water for tea.
The bad things:
- Plastic baggy, one more piece of plastic trash to store until you get to port.
- Eggs do not last forever at room temp. It might be possible to substitute dried eggs? But then, neither does bacon, onion (also available dried), or cheese (is this available dried? I think so…)
Fun experiment, and it cost little to try it.