Oil has a higher specific heat than water. Hence when you fry food in oil, rather than boiling it in water, heat is transmitted more rapidly to whatever you are frying. This is one reason why fried food inevitably has a crispy exterior and juicy interior, while boiled food is homogeneously heated and boring.
Which brings me to my brainwave idea. Couldn’t you use liquid metal in place of water for sous vide cooking? Granted, liquid metals tend to be highly toxic, so you can’t just plop food into a pool of liquid metal to cook. But when food is cooked sous vide, it is first wrapped in airtight plastic before being dropped into a pool of evenly heated water. This wrapping would also prevent liquid metal from leaching into the food. And the high specific heat of liquid metal would allow ultra-rapid heat transfer to the food.
This would lower cooking times for sous vide food at standard temperatures. However, liquid metals also have a much higher boiling point than water (and higher smoke/ignition points than oil), so extremely high temperature cooking might become feasible. This could change the soft and flaccid (if marvelously tender) results of sous vide cooking into something closer to fried food.
There would be some novel mechanics to consider. For example, everything would float to the top of the liquid metal bath, so food would need to be anchored down. Still, the idea is so exciting that I’m sure someone will try it eventually.
Incidentally, the one prominent use of liquid metal baths in modern society is in cooling 3rd generation nuclear reactors. Liquid metal transmits heat so quickly that it could successfully cool down a nuclear core after a power failure (IE, Fukushima).29 March 2011 by caseyzak