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foie gras: torchon or seared?

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brian j Nov 17, 2006 12:15 AM

I've decided I'm going to make foie gras for Thanksgiving this year. But I'm totally undecided as how to prepare it. I've seen a lot of buzz lately on blogs about the torchon preparation (see recent battle between megnut.com & amateurgorumet.com). And I was thinking of giving that a go, but now I'm not sure and think maybe I should just sear off slices.

What do all you chowheads think?

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  1. MMRuth RE: brian j Nov 17, 2006 12:24 AM

    I think it is very much a matter of personal preference - I don't like seared foie gras - too livery for me - but love a terrine or torchon - so I guess it would depend on who will be consuming your foie gras.

    1. HaagenDazs RE: brian j Nov 17, 2006 12:26 AM

      To reply to both these posts, I LOVE seared. I love the "livery taste". The warmth and crustiness of it - makes me happy just thinking about it! See, just like MMRuth said, personal preference. ;-)

      1. UnConundrum RE: brian j Nov 17, 2006 12:51 AM

        seared.....

        1. Ginsugirl RE: brian j Nov 17, 2006 01:03 AM

          Seared! Torchon is quite a bit of work basically for presentation's sake: it adds nothing; if anything it ruins. Foie gras is such a luxury item; I don't believe in tinkering with perfection. To minimize the fatty or liver-y qualities, serve it with a gastrique (a sauce made with fruit, wine and vinegar. My favourite is blueberries, a rich red wine, and a splash of good wine vinegar, boiled down a bit), or even the very best aged balsamic vinegar you can find.

          1. Bob Brooks RE: brian j Nov 17, 2006 02:10 AM

            Seared, definitely! Torchon is more like something that is no longer fresh, but something you can buy in a tin. Besides, it's easier by far and, at least to my taste, really isn't that livery tasting. A quince gastrique is wonderful with it.

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              Atahualpa RE: brian j Nov 17, 2006 02:56 AM

              I love both. But, I am leaving making torchon to someone else. I don't have the patience for the deveining, rolling, slow simmering, and hanging. If I had enough money to buy enough foie to eat some seared to off-set my desire I might be able to have the patience to wait until the torchon was ready.

              Cut it thick, coat with lots of grey salt and dust with a faint whisper of flour. Sear in a hot, hot pan -- cook until it is nicely seared or you can't bear to lose any more fat, you're choice. Remove to a warmed plate. Add a brunoise of shallot to the pan and then a shot of cassis. Pour over the foie. Serve with crisp baguette toasts and some fleur de sel. Have a double shot of cassis over ice or a Bellini to drink.

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                librarian RE: brian j Nov 17, 2006 02:57 AM

                My husband is weighing in with a vote for torchon. He says that he's not a big fan of seared because it makes it too greasy for him and since its already fatty, it just adds to the "whew". If that makes sense.

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                  brian j RE: brian j Nov 17, 2006 06:33 AM

                  the more i think about it, the more i realize that i've always enjoyed seared foie more. the last time i had foie it was torchon and it surely was heavenly, but it was cold and i kinda missed the hot crisp crunch yielding to a buttery interrior.

                  so if i'm going to sear it, do i need to devein it still?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: brian j
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                    Atahualpa RE: brian j Nov 17, 2006 02:09 PM

                    If there are no large highly visible veins, I don't bother when searing.

                    1. re: brian j
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                      JudiAU RE: brian j Nov 17, 2006 02:24 PM

                      Yes, you really do still need to devein. The texture of the small veins will be obvious and frankly, it a huge pet peeve of mine at restaurants.

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                      JudiAU RE: brian j Nov 17, 2006 02:20 PM

                      Tourchon for sure. The flavor and texture is far superior to seared with is often done without grace. Far superior to terrines and much better than seared.

                      However, it isn't something I would try for the first time before a big holiday meal. If you are going to do it, start soon because the soaking and deveining process takes some time and it will need to cure.

                      (And I might add, a freshly prepared tourchon is *nothing* like what is served in a can.)

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