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glenn

Foie Gras: The Topic

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If I was lucky enough to have foie gras...I mean a fesh piece not a canned one...I would definitely make the Torchon of Foie according to Thomas Keller. While it takes a few days preperation (only minutes per day), it requires no last minute work...just slice and garnish and feast. Sublime.

There is likely a description on the French Laundary threads, but do you mind giving a quick description of Keller's Torchon of Foie?

Thanks!


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I'm considering doing a foie gras soup over the holidays. Cafe Atlantico here in DC serves it up over a kind of sweet slightly roasted flavored corn, with, I believe, chanterelles. An amazing dish. Corn will be hard to come by, but I was thinking of doing something like it with the mushrooms-- whatever I can find.

I've never prepared anything with foie gras before, so I'll be sure to follow this thread for any tips.

Flavors sound good. Another key part of enjoying fois gras (for me) is the texture. How is the fois gras incorporated into the soup?

I spoke with a chef (I'm getting the fresh foie through him, I believe) here in DC who suggested heating about a 1/2 lb lobe in a 400 degree oven for about 10 mins. Then incorporate in pieces over low heat into a creamy chicken stock-- perhaps with some port? I'll probably press this through a sieve. And then pour the hot soup over sliced chanterelles that have been either roasted or sauteed until a little crispy.

Anyone see any pitfalls this amateur is setting himself up for?


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Damn, I hope the recipient of this soup is someone very, very special.

Nah, just family. :shock:

Kidding, really. I'll be serving 5, maybe 6. Is 1/2 lb enough?


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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I spoke with a chef (I'm getting the fresh foie through him, I believe) here in DC who suggested heating about a 1/2 lb lobe in a 400 degree oven for about 10 mins. Then incorporate in pieces over low heat into a creamy chicken stock-- perhaps with some port? I'll probably press this through a sieve. And then pour the hot soup over sliced chanterelles that have been either roasted or sauteed until a little crispy.

Anyone see any pitfalls this amateur is setting himself up for?

I usually sear it a bit -- I am looking for that slightly caramelized taste in the soup. I have, however, poached it also.

You will need to sieve the soup. You will get some veins, etc. that need to come out. I have always pureed the soup before sieving it.

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Do not try this at home! Here's a description of the foie gras we had at Jean George on November 1, 2002:
The first course was the Foie Gras Brulée. If I never eat another thing, I believe I’ve tasted heaven. This dish was sensational: contrasts of textures (soft, creamy foie on a chewy brioche crouton, topped with a crunchy disc of caramelized sugar) and flavors (salty foie, slightly bitter burnt sugar, and spicy, sweet-and-tart fig jam). With it we had a Belingard Monbazillac 2000 – not as syrupy as Sauternes, more muted sweetness, but a lovely match.
my absolute favourite is the thin thin thin slices of raw foie gras with hunky large crystals of Maldon salt served at Cellar (and probably Club) Gascon, with chewy sourdough bread. Like eating livery butter. Magnificent.

These both sound incredibly tasty with the constrast of crunchy sugar or salt on top.

Of course ginger-encrusted w/quince preserves and soup, ooh lah lah...


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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At a chef pal's annual Xmas Eve Do, he made an hors d'oeuvre of pitted date, slit lengthwise with a sliver of foie gras tucked in, broiled just until the foie sizzled. Excellent.

Most memorable, though, I recall for its sheer wrong-headedness. At a restaurant here in VT, one highly lauded for all the wrong reasons, IMO, there was of a midwinter's evening an appetizer described thusly: a potato pancake topped with a crabcake topped with a slice of seared foie gras. When I came to*, I barely knew where to begin deconstructing such an abomination.

*The mere description did me in. I would never dream of ordering a faux pas of this magnitude.

Spelling, of course.


Edited by GG Mora (log)

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At a chef pal's annual Xmas Eve Do, he made an hors d'oeuvre of pitted date, slit lengthwise with a sliver of foie gras tucked in, broiled just until the foie sizzled. Excellent.

This strikes me as the chef's riff on the D'Artagnan French Kiss described thusly on its website:

Prunes marinated in Armagnac and filled with mousse of Foie Gras. A D’Artagnan original, is one-step this side of paradise. Serving suggestions: These kisses are best when stored in the freezer and they just need about 45 minutes to 1 hour to thaw on the counter. If kept in the refrigerator, they have a ten-day life once removed from the freezer.

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At a chef pal's annual Xmas Eve Do, he made an hors d'oeuvre of pitted date, slit lengthwise with a sliver of foie gras tucked in, broiled just until the foie sizzled. Excellent.

This strikes me as the chef's riff on the D'Artagnan French Kiss described thusly on its website:

Prunes marinated in Armagnac and filled with mousse of Foie Gras. A D’Artagnan original, is one-step this side of paradise. Serving suggestions: These kisses are best when stored in the freezer and they just need about 45 minutes to 1 hour to thaw on the counter. If kept in the refrigerator, they have a ten-day life once removed from the freezer.

I've had the D'Artagnan French Kiss and it is truly wonderful.

My poor man's version (sans foie gras mousse) and, well, also without the Armagnac soak :smile: , it to stuff the prune w/a good blue cheese. Warm up a little to soften cheese, sprinkle w/parsley and serve.

(Got the idea out of the Susan Loomis French Farmhouse Cookbook

Thanks for reminding me of this; could gussy up the cheese version w/a cognac marinade--or just make the French Kiss at home...


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I have had good results with freezing 2cm thick slices and then sauteing from frozen.


Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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I have had good results with freezing 2cm thick slices and then sauteing from frozen.

Interesting... does freezing affect the texture? always heard it was bad for fg but then again that may just be cold - i guess actually its all melted back into runniness by then...?

J


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

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...does freezing affect the texture?

Not that I have noticed. I would think that fg, being mostly fat, is a good candidate for freezing without affecting the texture. The advantage of sauteing from frozen is that you can saute for longer and get a really sexy crust without the whole thing turning to mush. I seem to remember Heston B using liquid nitogen to bring the temp down for sauteing.


Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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If I am only going to use part of a lobe, I always portion the entire thing and wrap the "leftovers" individually and freeze. I temper them only a few minutes and drop in a saute pan. Perfect.

D'Artagnan sells an imported product that I have used twice. IQF portions in a foil zip lock bag. 20 2 ounce portions to the bag. I think they will only sell you a case of two bags, however. The product tastes good; but the sear is not very pretty. The package instructions are that you can saute them frozen or let them temper for 20 minutes before cooking.

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Okay, I'm getting nervous. I'm going to attempt a dish with FG over Christmas, but the comments I'm reading make it sound like searing FG is akin to trying to sear a stick of butter.

If this is more or less the case, I suppose it wouldn't matter too much if it liquifies considerably since I'm making a soup? Is that assumption correct?


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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I have never had it as the main ingredient in a soup and am hugely interested in how this turns out. I have a conceptual problem with all that fat in the soup, though. Is it your intention to mush up the soup or to have pieces of seared fg sort of floating in it?


Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Okay, I'm getting nervous. I'm going to attempt a dish with FG over Christmas, but the comments I'm reading make it sound like searing FG is akin to trying to sear a stick of butter.

FG??? :shock:

Poor Fat Guy. :sad:

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I have never had it as the main ingredient in a soup and am hugely interested in how this turns out. I have a conceptual problem with all that fat in the soup, though. Is it your intention to mush up the soup or to have pieces of seared fg sort of floating in it?

I'm looking to do something more or less like this (though I will have about 1/2 lb of fresh FG to work with):

FG Soup


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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To garnish, shave the remaining foie gras into flakes and place some on each plate.

Egad! How do you "shave" foie gras! I would be scared, very scared to make that "live" without a test beforehand. I may be totally wrong, but what with the mushrooms and the creme fraiche, it seems to me that the fg will not be the star of the show, as it deserves to be.


Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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I'm considering doing a foie gras soup over the holidays. Cafe Atlantico here in DC serves it up over a kind of sweet slightly roasted flavored corn, with, I believe, chanterelles. An amazing dish. Corn will be hard to come by, but I was thinking of doing something like it with the mushrooms-- whatever I can find.

I've never prepared anything with foie gras before, so I'll be sure to follow this thread for any tips.

I share your concern about the shaving concept, gsquared. I thought I'd just skip that part. My quote here somewhat lamely describes what may well have been the most amazing soup I've ever tried. The FG was still the star of that show, but it didn't totally dominate the corn and mushroom flavors. And it did have something creamy incorporated into it. It worked. Definitely.

That being said, perhaps I'm in over my head here. I have a tendency to think of a dish that I want to prepare for a particular occasion and really get a bit obsessed over it. However, I've usually managed to pull it off. I'll be getting a pretty good deal on the FG, and it will be served to willing and understanding guinea pigs, so, what the heck...


Edited by Al_Dente (log)

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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One other thing that worries me slightly - the recipe refers to foie gras "available in cans or glass jars from good delis". This sound like fg pate, not fresh. Maybe that explains the reference to "shaving" it. If that is the case, I can see how the pate would blend with the stock and the creme fraiche when you whizz it. But the fresh fg, sauteed? Dunno. I would sacrifice a small piece, saute it, add it to hot stock, add creme fraiche and blend, just to see what happens.


Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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One other thing that worries me slightly - the recipe refers to foie gras "available in cans or glass jars from good delis". This sound like fg pate, not fresh. Maybe that explains the reference to "shaving" it. If that is the case, I can see how the pate would blend with the stock and the creme fraiche when you whizz it. But the fresh fg, sauteed? Dunno. I would sacrifice a small piece, saute it, add it to hot stock, add creme fraiche and blend, just to see what happens.

When I was in cooking school, one of our dishes was a sauce thickened with FG - we used a Trader Joe's-purchased pâté and it was fabulous. When trying it at home, I had some fresh FG and used that. I liked the pâté better...

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I just picked up a whole duck foie gras to take make dinner for Christmas. Since this is my first time cooking it, I've decided to just sear some slices. I've been checking in the French Laundry cookbook which gives a fairly thorough explanation on cleaning the liver for a terrine. My question is, if I'm just searing it, do I still need to take the lobes apart to remove the veins? The terrine method Keller uses calls for cutting into it, and I'm worried that if I do that, it'll fall apart on a hot skillet.

Thanks.

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There are two parts to the liver. Separate them gently, pull out the veins that connect the two, going as far into each piece as you can without breaking up the flesh, and slice away. It helps to leave the foie gras out at room temperature for a couple of hours to soften a bit beforehand. If you are making a terrine to serve cold you would clean up as much as you could, irrespective of the finished appearance of the cleaned liver, because it kind of melts together anyway. When portioning for searing, you'll need to have a solid hunk to portion from. There's no hiding torn up edges.

As for searing, I assume you know that the shorter the cooking time the better. It has to be cooked on the outside (and all crispy and black - damn!) but should just be warmed through. A well seasoned and thoroughly heated cast iron pan is best for this.

I realize that you've already bought the thing and you've invited the guests, but two ounces per person is about the minimum. If you can't get more foie gras, uninvite somebody, for chrissakes.


If we aren't supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

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