One of the drawbacks of sous vide cooking is that you never achieve that brown crust full of delicious flavor that traditional roasting or grilling achieves. These brown bits of goodness occur because of the maillard reaction and can only develop at extremely high heats not used in sous vide cooking.
There is, however, an easy solution to this problem…torching. Using a good torch, you can quickly put a brown crust that is both delicious and visually appealing on any piece of meat or fish (like this swordfish recipe). Think of this as a crème brûlée torch on steroids.
Iwatani Torch Burner Professional
The rolls Royce of food torches, the Iwatani puts out consistent reliable flames that create amazing crusts in no time. This is the torch I ended up purchasing after months of frustration with the torch reviewed below. It is of a very similar price to other brands, but with a much better quality. Don’t waste your time with anything else.
This torch uses butane canisters which are very inexpensive and it uses them efficiently. I’m still on my first can of the five pack I bought 6 months ago. You simply twist the torch onto the canister and are good to go; no messy filling of compartments. The flame never goes out no matter how quickly you move the torch around or at what angle you are holding it. The lighting motion is very simple with an twist to open the fuel line and a pull of the trigger to ignite. I’ve never had to attempt ignition more than one time and have never had the flame go out.
Make sure you pick up the right butane canisters when you buy the torch.
Orka & BonJour Torches
These two brands have a variety of torches of a similar price to the Iwatani, but with much worse quality. Both brands are better suited for crème brûlée which doesn’t need the consistent high heat needed for quickly searing meat after sous vide cooking.
Reviewers complain of inconsistent lighting and flame stability and difficulties in filling. Don’t waste your time with these brands. Go for the Iwatani.