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Should I Sear Foie Gras Frozen?

I was just wondering how some restaurants develop that beautiful seared crust on their foie gras slices. My first try, a couple of decades back was disastrous: I ended up with the foie gras floating in a sea of its own fat. I've done better since then, but I've never had a really nice thin crust with a still rosy interior.

Would the principle behind searing tuna very cold work for foie gras as well? Should I use chilled, rather than frozen, foie gras?

A store nearby is selling Rougie (or is it Rougié?) foie gras from Canada, frozen, and they have whole livers, as well as in bagged pre-cut IQF slices and frozen packages of just 2 slices.

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  1. I use cold (not frozen) foie gras. Get the pan screaming hot, sear briefly on each side. The longer it's in the pan, the more you render the fat, and you end up with a puddle of melted foie. But if your pan isn't hot enough, you won't get that nice sear.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Indirect Heat

      Hah! That explains my foie flottante. I was trying to get some color on the foie, and the longer I cooked it the more it floated (and the grayer it got).

    2. Very high btu's are available in restaurant kitchens; home cooks with regular stoves don't have that option. Restaurants also use torches to sear, which for foie gras is not a bad idea. You could try a torch, if you have one.

      Foie gras should be seared from a chilled state, not from frozen. Rinse, pat dry, separate lobes, slice on bias with hot, wet knife about 1 inch thick. Season both sides and sauté quickly over very high heat, 45 seconds to no more than a minute on each side. A very hot cast iron pan is best for this, and you really need some sort of ventilation system in the kitchen, foie gras smokes. If you can't get a good sear in that time from the flame on your burner, try a torch. Any longer and you end up with a puddle of fat, as you've experienced. Heartbreaking.

      I can't comment on the quality of the pre cut IQF slices; I've only used whole fresh. I do know that foie gras freezes very well.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        Thanks, bushwickgirl! I have one of those picayune glass top ranges (not my choice) so I am not likely to get those BTUs you speak of. On the other hand, I do have a small kitchen torch, so that might work! I have a two-slice package of foie gras in the freezer and I shall attempt to sear the slices for tomorrow's treat. I'll post back. Thanks again!

      2. I suspect they lightly dust the slices in flour as well.

        5 Replies
        1. re: cutipie721

          "dust the slices in flour"

          NIMK - not in my kitchen. Just season and sear.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            One more comment, pilinut: I saw a quick shot on a FN ad last night of a chef searing a at least 1" slice of foie gras; as he flipped it over, I observed that it appeared to be scored on the bias, into a diamond shaped pattern, and had a nice dark sear on it. I believe that the chef had scored the foie gras lightly with a knife prior to searing, and the scoring created a pattern through the sear that was attractive for presentation.. The sauté pan was very hot, btw.

            I hope you'll get back to us with your results.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              I finally did it! I heated up a stainless steel pan over high heat, scored one piece, seasoned both pieces with salt and pepper, and tossed them both in the pan. Yup, there was a lot of smoke! The slices stuck a bit, but I managed to flip them over after around 17 seconds. They had a nice sear, but there was already around 3T fat in the pan. Another 15 seconds in the pan, and the foie still seemed a little too firm, so I swirled the pieces around in their rapidly increasing fat for a few more seconds before placing them on some sautéed apple and onion slices.

              I thought the results were pretty good, though I think that the scoring does help, aesthetically as well as in terms of taste--more of those lightly crisp edges. Thank you, bushwickgirl, cutipie, and indirect heat! I hope to do this again!

            2. re: bushwickgirl

              Good little thread. On some other thread someone mentioned flour, I believe. My thought at the time, granted never having cooked foie gras, is that the flour would still be "raw" by the time the liver was done. ???