A cooking technique in which food is placed in a plastic bag, vacuum-packed, and usually cooked slowly in warm water. Also: cryovacking.
A few weeks ago at Per Se, Thomas Keller's four-star restaurant in New York City, a waiter set a salad of diced watermelon and hearts of peach palm in front of me. ''This is watermelon that has been Cryovacked,'' he explained. ...
''Cryovacking'' is an industry term for putting food in a plastic bag and vacuum-packing it. Sometimes the food is then cooked in the bag. Other times, the pressure of the packing process is used to infuse flavors into ingredients. The watermelon, for instance, was vacuum-packed with 20 pounds of pressure per square centimeter, to compact the fruit's cells and concentrate its flavor. It had the texture of meat. Just the thing for backyard picnics.
—Amanda Hesser, "Under Pressure," The New York Times, August 14, 2005
Sous Vide: Traditionalist chefs maintain that this fashionable cooking technique detracts from the texture of the food. Who knows. But doesn't Cryovacking a piece of chicken in a plastic bag, then cooking it over low heat for half a day sound slightly insane?
—Adam Platt, "The 2005 Overrated List," New York Magazine, January 3, 2006
Meat should age between 14 and 21 days, Romberg says. After that, it can develop an acidic taste. Some butchers dry age meat in lockers, but this can shrink meat up to 20 per cent and boost prices. With wet aging, or Cryovacking, shrinkage is about 1 per cent.
—Amy Pataki, "Rib-eye leads straight to heart," The Toronto Star, February 14, 2001
This term appears to come from combining the prefix cryo- (freezing, cold) and the variant form vack (from vacuum). However, there doesn't seem to be any requirement that the food be cold (much less frozen) before it's vacuum-packed, so why the cryo- prefix? And why the uppercase C in so many citations? Perhaps we should just stick with the more popular European term for the same process: sous vide, a French phrase meaning "in a vaccum" (literally, "under empty").