Sous Vide Redfish


There’s a really good reason that I don’t often cook fresh fish. There’s no fish where I live. Not edible fish, at least.

The closest fish source is the Gulf Coast, 700 land miles due south. Sure, some fish and seafood is flown in frozen at my grocery store, but not surprisingly, it’s not that great.

But I do have a friend whose husband fishes around the world. After the fish are caught, they’re immediately cleaned, vacuum sealed, and frozen. And this special friend shares fish with me!

I’ve posted on red fish/redfish before, thanks to this same friend. It’s a unique fish with large scales, and it’s recommended that the fish is cooked skin down, and served the same way. Sort of like on the “half shell.”


But Stefan from Stefan Gourmet has been trying to convince me to sous vide white fish, and this is a perfect opportunity to try out this technique.

I tried to convince him previously that when I cook fish, I make sure to make it moist and tender. Which is basically trying to convince him that I don’t overcook fish. But then he says the sous vide actually creates a protein that is even more moist and tender. Because he is my sous vide go-to expert, I know he’s right. If you need basic information and lots of sous vide recipes, please refer to his blog.

If you don’t own a sous vide, follow the directions for cooking the fish from my other redfish post

And if you don’t own a sous vide, do consider one. I own a demi version, which is half the size of the non-commercial standard size, and plenty big for most everything. It was also half the price.
Honestly, the machine is a miracle worker. My favorite thing to do with it is to sous vide both brisket and flank steak. These are both meats I never loved, and yet, once the sous vide process is over, the meat is like filet mignon. Chicken breasts are great in the sous vide as well.

According to my girlfriend, Creole flavors lend themselves to redfish. I’m also serving the fish with a fun mayo. Here’s what I did.
Sous Vide Redfish with a Spicy Mayo

Redfish filets
Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning*

for the spicy mayo:
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon Creole mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
Pinch of salt
Chopped parsley, chives, or tarragon

To sous vide the fish, set your machine at 50 degrees C or 122 degrees F.

Rinse and dry the fish on paper towels. Season generously with Creole seasoning.

Vacuum seal the fish.
Sous vide the fish for 20 minutes.
For safety purposes, place the package of fish in an ice bath for about 10 minutes, then refrigerate.
To make the mayo, place an egg yolk in a small bowl. Whisk the egg yolk until it’s smooth. A little whisk works wonders for a small amount of mayo.

Begin drizzling a little olive owl slowly into the bowl, while continuing to whisk.

Continue in this manner until the mayo is the consistency of heavy cream.
Once it has thickened, pour the rest of the oil into the mayo while still whisking. Af this point, it will be the consistency of mayonnaise.
Add the garlic, mustard, salt and cayenne pepper. As it is, the mayo can be refrigerated for a few days.

To serve the fish with the , warm the fish and the mayo close to room temperature.

Remove the fish from the plastic and place the filets on paper towels. Dry off the fish. Place the fish in a baking pan large enough so there is no overlap. Drizzle a little olive oil over the filets or, if you prefer, add a dab of butter to each filet.

Broil the fish just until it gets some color. Meanwhile stir the chopped parsley into the mayonnaise.
Serve the fish with a dollop of the spicy mayo.
After a little broiling, I sprinkled a little hot paprika over the fish for a bit more color.

So was it even more tender and moist from the sous vide? Honestly, I can’t imagine this fish even more perfect than it was! Thanks, Stefan!
* You don’t have to use a seasoning mixture, but a friend recommended this brand, and I’ve enjoyed it. If you prefer to make your own, here is a recipe from Epicurious.

58 thoughts on “Sous Vide Redfish

  1. Very interesting…. I never thought of using sous vide for a filet of fish, but now I want to try it. So you cool it because going from sous vide straight to broiling would over cook it, correct?

    • no, not if you’re eating it immediately. if there’s any time in between sous vide and eating, then you have to refrigerate immediately. just a couple of food safety rules, but it’s an amazing machine! I chose broiling so that there was just some browning involved, and no extra “cooking.” I could have done the browning before the sous vide… it’s just a really thin piece of fish!

      • ah, got it…. I normally sous vide right before eating, so with the fish I just have to plan to start closer to dinner time, as it cooks so fast

        awesome, I love opening my horizons, so far I only did pork, chicken and beef sous vide style. Tried carrots too, but was disappointed by the result, not worth the extra fuss

      • oh, i forgot you own a sous vide! I normally end up throwing the meat in the fridge overnight. The fish was a great experiment – I really couldn’t imagine it better than one can cook it in a skillet, but it truly was!

      • I’ve been thinking about it, and I usually sous vide larger cuts of meat, or a bunch of chicken breasts, and so just randomly start sous vide’ing them at various times of the day. That’s probably why I’ve never served directly from the sous vide. My husband won’t eat fish unless he’s on vacation, so he never ate this fish!

  2. I can’t imagine living anywhere that you can’t get fresh fish. We are very spoilt here in Sydney and most of coastal Australia. Your recipe looks great and I will try it with my “slap your mama” spice that my partner Adrian brought home from New Orleans. Thanks

  3. I’ve tried sous vide dishes, but am still not converted to this method of cooking. It’s usually too bland to my taste. But it definitely looks like you’ve managed to overcome this by broiling and adding this wonderful spicy mayo. Looks amazing! :)

    • That’s the cook’s job. The machine does what it”s supposed to do, but as far as seasoning, the meat can be pre-marinated, or a dry rub used, or if you brown the meat after the sous vide, you can season as you wish. So I don’t see that as an issue. Whose sous vide have you tried? I’m curious!

      • I agree that in every method of cooking, the cook is the most important factor!
        I’ve had different cuts of beef, chicken and fish cooked sous-vide, mostly in restaurants. All were indeed moist and “melt in your mouth”, but I guess that’s exactly what I’m not looking for in food. I’m not much into uniform texture and I like to be “surprised’ in a sense, by every bite I take.
        Or maybe I’m just not open minded enough… :)

      • That’s so interesting! It makes total sense. Taste and texture are both subjective and not everything needs to be melt in your mouth for sure! I just really like it for brisket, flank steak, hanger steak, chicken breasts and pork loin. I leave tenderloins alone! It’s certainly not about being open minded!

      • I know, I was just joking. Though I’m the first to admit to being quite “old school” when it comes to cooking. :)

        I can definitely see the advantages of the machine, though I can also see that in too many restaurants nowadays the chefs are using it as a way to avoid the stress of real time cooking, which is a shame..

      • Oh, sorry. It’s so hard to tell if someone is joking or, especially being sarcastic in comments! And I have a seriously sarcastic sense of humor! I do agree that a sous vide shouldn’t exist just because chefs are lazy.

  4. Interesting “kitchen gadget” which is all new to me. I think I will stick with my regular way of cooking fish; sometimes I wrap it in parchment or just pan fry it. I live in the Great Lakes State and have access to fish of all kinds, fresh and frozen.Sous vide, huh? Learned something new today :)

    • Restaurants have been using them for a while, but they now make them for the home cook. It’s a magical piece of kitchen equipment, but not mandatory!

  5. I love doing fish sous vide although the ones I have tried have been “steaky” versions that I want more or less poached. I have never tried snapper or redfish (aka “Red Drum”) because they are so thin and I get a great crust on them with high temps and fast cooking. Your results, however, look spectacular and with cajun seasoning it is definitely full of flavor. Kudos!!

  6. You must really miss seafood thank goodness for your friend, I haven’t got a sous vide but watch them with great interest. Lots of chefs here use them. Nice work.

  7. Thanks, Mimi, for the nice words. I’m glad the fish turned out so well. I skip the cooling step and go straight from sous-vide to crisping up the skin in a hot skillet. I vacuum seal and refrigerate the fish until half an hour before serving. Good to see that your cooling technique also ‘worked’.

    • yeah, I know that would be normal, but my husband won’t eat any fish unless we’re on vacation. so I didn’t want to cook the fish in the evening and then do the food photography. But if I had a normal husband, that would make sense. By the way, what the hell is your husband building. A boat?

  8. You certainly nailed the dish.
    I too am not able to get fresh seafood where i live so whenever I travel to areas where fresh caught seafood is available I “pig out”.

  9. Well, I have to say that yours is the firs post I have seen that helps me understand why sous vide is such a good process. I am not sure about getting a machine, yet. Although I am also skeptical about using my rice cooker on the warm setting to do this. (It is what a lot of Asian bloggers are doing.) I am especially curious about flank steaks this way… that has me most interested!

    • Obviously a sous vide machine isn’t a mandatory piece of kitchen equipment, but I’ll never cook flank steak on a grill again. And I don’t mind chewing. But when it’s sous vide’d, it’s like filet mignon. Amazing!

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