Crocodile is the true chicken of the sea in my opinion. I’ve been testing out a few recipes with this ingredient (can be bought at certain stores here in Vancouver, frozen of course). The flavor is fairly unique but if you asked anyone who’s had it before, they would probably say it tastes like chicken and fish at the same time. And that’s a fairly accurate description in some ways. The flavor of a crocodile steak is wonderful and coming from a creature that doesn’t have that many fans out there, is quite remarkable how tasty it is!
For this recipe I opted to cook the croc steak sous vide. It took a few tries to get a nice texture, and I could probably experiment more. Crocodile tail meat is very lean which usually means, cook it fast! I did what pretty much I do every time I want to cook something new, turn to the internet and google stuff up. I couldn’t find much about how to cook this thing. Maybe one sous vide video recipe, but the information wasn’t clear… I gave up. I researched more traditional recipes,
I found some stews, and also, some recipes that called for a quick sear and done. Kinda contradicting really. I figured I’d skip any stewing avenues and focus on the fast approach. The first test was directly over a hot searing pan. The result, was ok… but too chewy, like really chewy. I wouldn’t serve that to anyone. I might have overcooked it. For the rest of my testing I turned to a more reliable approach, sous vide:
My sous vide tests were as follows:
62C 3h. Really dry, dryer than my pan test.
47C 1h. Really chewy, but moist… ok.., getting somewhere.
55C 3h. Tender and moist. Nice texture. I stopped my testing. Ran out of croc steaks.
But I would like to try 52 3h. I have a feeling it could be better. Anyways, here is the rest of the recipe, hope you enjoy:
Ingredients (serves 2):
2 crocodile tail steaks
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 fennel bulb
1/3 C pedro ximenez sherry vinegar
Salt and Sugar.
green onion, radishes and cherry tomatoes for garnishing.
The croc sous vide. In a plastic bag, add the seeds of the 1/2 vanilla bean. 4 Tsp of kosher salt, 2 Tsp of sugar. Shake well. Add the crock steaks to the bad and shake well again, making sure the mixture is evenly distributed over the steaks. Allow to cure overnight in the fridge. When ready to cook. Rinse the steaks. Ready up for the water bath. Make sure your water temperature is already at 55C before you begin. Place the steaks in a plastic bag with about 1/3 cup olive oil. Vacuum seal if possible. Otherwise, the water displacement method would work just fine. Cook for 3 hours. Remove the baggies from the water bath. Reserve.
Prepping everything else before you sear the steaks. Just before you’re ready to eat, make sure all the garnishes are ready, sliced and laid out orderly on your work area.
Searing the steaks. Remove the steaks from their plastic baggies and dry with paper towels. This is extremely important. In a good pan, add enough vegetable oil (not olive oil) to fill about 2mm-3mm. Place over high heat, and let the pan get really hot. The oil will begin to smoke. That’s when the steaks should go in. Be careful, and lay the steaks on the bottom of the pan. If the steaks were dried properly, there should be minimal oil spatter. This will increase as the steaks begin to heat up and some of the internal juices reach the pan. Sear both sides, no more than 3 minutes per side, or until golden and beautiful. Remove the steaks from the pan and allow them to rest on a cutting board for a good 10 minutes before slicing. Remove the oil form the pan. Return the pan to the stove, lower the heat to medium. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, reduce until bubbly, add a little sugar, about a teaspoon. Give it another minute or so. Remove the pan from the heat.
Plating. Slice the croc steaks. Place the slices over the plates, intermix some of the fennel slices as well. Decorate with the tomato and radish slices. Add the sherry vinegar reduction carefully, over the dish. Add the green onion. Done.