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Jan 11, 2011 10:32 AM

Menu to follow Foie Gras? (split from Mnahttan board)

Thanks everybody! I am now on the lookout for fresh duck foie gras. The person for whom I am preparing it loves the way that I cook, and has asked me to make her a dinner customized to her tastes on her birthday... I've never made foie gras before. I've only eaten it in restaurants, and in very small portions. I'm thinking of serving it as an appetizer (because it is so rich and so that she will still be hungry enough to really enjoy it) and then following with a starch course (preferably risotto) and a cheese course. I am also thinking about surprising her with a nice palate cleanser between. Any menu suggestions?

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  1. just be very careful with the cooking times -- it's a tragedy to watch your foie melt into a puddle.

    I'd stay with something a little lighter for the've got the richness of the foie, followed by a rich risotto, followed by the richness of the cheese. Bleh -- just too heavy.

    1. You might get better responses if you post this on the cooking forum.

      19 Replies
      1. re: gutsofsteel

        +1. That seems just insanely rich. By the end of the meal, you could be almost sick. Not appreciating each course. I'd definitely take it to HC and let them give you some advice.

        1. re: c oliver

          Best foie preparation I ever had. Made by a chef friend in his house in the Dordogne. One of the "I will never forget this" dishes of my lifetime.

          The lobe was brought to room temp (important, so it doesn't crack when handled) and then marinated in sauternes in a glass jar for a couple of hours, then removed and wrapped in a layer of cheesecloth and tied. Sauternes poured out excepte for a small glass of the sauternes was left in the glass jar, then the wrapped lobe was put back in the jar. It was poached in the glass jar (bain-marie style), and as it poached the fat of the foie itself eventually covered the lobe, which is when it was pronounced ready.

          The sauternes it was marinated in was combined with fruit (I think pear or quince) and made into a sauce that was served with the foie.

          1. re: gutsofsteel

            That sounds amazing. And probably a smidge more forgiving than the pan-seared that the birthday girl has demanded. My birthday is in June if you'd like to cook for me :)

            1. re: c oliver

              I don't know where you got the impression that anyone "demanded" anything.

              1. re: vvvindaloo

                I believe it was when you said you can't do the amazing poached method because she wants it seared. Just seemed a tad controlling.

                1. re: c oliver

                  I am making a meal in honor of someone's birthday and preparing dishes the way she likes them. For the record, she has been nothing but gracious and I am happy to do it.

            2. re: gutsofsteel

              that's 'bocale de foie gras' -- and with the exception of making a sauce with the marinade, made in French kitchens all across the country (including mine)

            3. re: c oliver

              A good deal of this thread probably belongs on Home Cooking at this point! When I get closer to actually shopping and preparing, I will turn there. In terms of balancing the the courses, I think I am going with a dark chocolate cake rather than a cheese course, but my general ideas remain the same. I think a basic risotto (Milanese or mushroom, for instance), would be a natural and appropriate entree after an appetizer of foie gras. More meat doesn't make sense (nor would that be the preference of the lady of honor) after foie gras, and neither does a "light" fish dish. I think a starch would make her happy, and fits the bill in terms of flavor and texture. What would you serve?

              1. re: vvvindaloo

                I completely disagree with you, vvindaloo. You need something lighter after the foie than risotto. Vegetables, a composed warm salad perhaps with some tiny potatoes in it... And I think dark chocolate cake is way too rich a way to finish such a meal. Think about good cheese and compote dried fruit, and a fruited bread with the cheese.

                1. re: gutsofsteel

                  I agree with you GOS. After the foie, a spinach salad with a warm shallot dressing or an endive/radicchio salad with some citrus would be more appropriate. A little bitterness to offset and compliment the richness of the foie. And since the meal seems to have a "French" influence, I would follow up with a garlic butter escargot app (so easy to make and always impressive) lemon sorbet and then maybe coq au vin or chicken with tarragon sauce.
                  Desert? Chocolate mousse with a bit of orange essence instead of a heavy cake.

                  1. re: AdamD

                    Spinach or endive/radicchio are not special enough.

                    1. re: gutsofsteel

                      Perhaps, but that meal needs something acidic in between the rich dishes.

                  2. re: gutsofsteel

                    I am a big fan of cheese and homemade compotes- but I served these (both as dessert and at a wine-and-cheese gathering) over the holiday season, and she was present both times. Chocolate cake is her favorite (not the towering, frosted devil's food kind, the white cake/light choc buttercream filling/thin layer of liquid icing on top kind). It's very sweet, but not particularly rich for chocolate cake. I'm chuckling at the idea of fruit tart... she really does not care for that! One thing I am considering is moving the foie to main dish rather than appetizer, and serving a nice warm salad beforehand. That said, I'll be posting over at HC from this point on. Thanks, everyone, for your input.

                  3. re: vvvindaloo

                    When I was in the Armagnac region, foie gras (it was often goose but sometimes duck) was frequently a main dish...with a slight kind of savory starter beforehand(don't laugh, once it was tiny round munchies that were revealed to be duck testicles although I think they were yanking my crank!)...maybe the foie gras should be the piece de resistance...start with oysters (if to the taste) or a chilled lobster or crab salad...end with lemon tart?

                    1. re: penthouse pup

                      That sounds fabulous.

                      Oysters....foie...salad....fruit tart....cheese. Sort of the ultimate meal and progression.

                      And have a digestif at the end!

                        1. re: c oliver

                          I agree. penthouse pup is on the right track.

                          1. re: steve h.

                            If you read more you'll see that oysters, snails and fruit tart are out.

              2. An important point: there will be considerable smoke so make sure you have air flow...and you may want to pour some of the fat off as you sautee...I'd recommend a Sauternes or Barsac or maybe a Coteaux du Layon for wine...palate cleanser--a high quality lemon sorbet maybe...

                1 Reply
                1. re: penthouse pup

                  Thanks for the recomendations- I'm planning to serve a Sauternes with the foie.
                  I knew about pouring off the fat, but hadn't considered the smoke. The kitchen I'll be using has good ventilation, so it shouldn't be problem.

                2. Why not stick with the duck theme and make magret de canard (rare duck breast), maybe in a peppercorn sauce - along with potatoes (cooked in advance....maybe in cubes....and finished in the foie gras fat left in your pan). It doesn't have to be heavy per se - that would be a function of the size of your duck/tater portions. (The foie gras will shrink substantially, so your servings will be much smaller than you'd imagine. ) And as sunshine842 warns, it is easy to overcook foie gras; it could end up being reduced to nothing. Depending on the size of each slice, my husband (the household chef) sautées it on high heat for approx 30 seconds to a minute (tops) per side. It's not a bad idea to do a trial run, if you have the time and financing :-) available, to figure out how to make sure the insides remain creamy. (What's wrong with having foie gras twice? It's yummy......) . Good luck!

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: boredough

                    A while back I had sliced rare magret over braised lentils at Canteen. Seasonal, classy enough to follow the foie but not too fussy, substantial but not too heavy.

                      1. re: boredough

                        I really appreciate your suggestion- the thing is, not all of the dinner guests are "foodies", and I have a feeling that duck followed by duck might be pushing it. Hence, other suggestions above, such as oysters and escargot, just aren't going to work. I need to incorporate something that's more of a 'safe' crowd pleaser, but still 'special'. This is why I had decided to serve the foie gras as an appetizer and was considering a simple risotto for the main course. Another option is to add a fancy salad to start, make the foie gras an entree and serve a starch side dish. In any case, I have to work in a satisfying carbohydrate somewhere!

                        I was actually thinking about doing a little trial run with the foie- I've read some conflicting info- on this site and elsewhere- regarding the proper temp of the foie for searing, as well as whether or not a light flour duisting is a good idea. Any feedback on this? Thanks .

                        1. re: vvvindaloo

                          Oh, wow, if some of your guests consider oysters and snails too wild and crazy, do you think they'll actually eat duck liver?

                          I think the point people are making is that, while risotto is certainly simple, it's also rich. I personally find that creating a truly special menu is the hardest part of cooking. I have a tendency to make a bunch of things that taste good rather than dishes that truly work together. But, hey, if you, the guest of honor and the other guests don't care, then go for it.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            I think the reason people are advising against risotto following the foie is because it is not balanced for the palate. It's two extremely rich things one after the other.

                            An idea might be to look at the set menus of some of the finer restaurants in France and see the progressions they follow.

                            1. re: gutsofsteel

                              Agreed. And I think your suggestion of checking restaurants in France is rather brilliant. Good job.

                              1. re: gutsofsteel

                                Heck, there are plenty of set / chef's menus with foie gras in the US. And they're more likely to be published in English.

                                With the foie as an appetizer, the traditional route would be to follow it with a fish course. You indicated that you don't want anything too light, but how about something like butter-poached lobster?

                                1. re: alanbarnes

                                  Ooh, what a lovely, luxurious idea. Terrific suggestion.

                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                    Now this could work. Its still rather rich in its way, but perhaps with the right herb and a splash of white wine...

                                    1. re: vvvindaloo

                                      From what I know, the poaching liquid is just butter and water. You could then serve it over something. Leeks?

                          2. Okay, this is totally over the top and certainly not going to done at home but here's a post that got my salivary glands working:


                            7 Replies
                            1. re: c oliver

                              I had a lovely dinner at Le Meurice last year. A pleasure for all the senses.

                              1. re: gutsofsteel

                                Just today I arranged a house exchange for the fall in Paris. Mmm.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Great idea! Do you do house exchanges in Sonoma too?
                                  And, to stay on topic, have you had any lovely foie up here in Sonoma?
                                  I like the idea of starting with oysters, moving onto seared foie with brioche and quince, a small fish (mild petrale or bass maybe) with a meyer vin and then a salad of chicories before dessert.
                                  Dessert could be cheese, but I love the idea of tarte tatin. It goes well with just about everything.

                                  1. re: rabaja

                                    We're hard-wired into a Sonoma exchange :) Which is one of my favorite places. I like the petrale idea also. What's a "meyer vin"? I have a Meyer lemon olive oil from DaVero.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Just a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. Too cut any richness, which this menu seems to need.

                                    2. re: rabaja

                                      Re chicories, I'm a great lover of baby arugula esp. what WF and Sonoma Market sell. Just some slices of Parm with oo and lemon juice, s&p.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Have you checked out Green String for chicories? They have absolutely gorgeous ones this time of year.
                                        My good friend had a fall-out with one of the owners of the farm, so I don't feel right shopping at this stand anymore, but damn, I miss their chicories.
                                        You should check them out next time your here. Not always stellar stuff al around, but great chicories.