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Foie gras - some in's and out's

A CH recently suggested that I start a thread on some basics about foie gras. I'm no expert but I do love it. So I'll start the ball rolling.

A year ago I bought two whole ones from Sonoma Foie Gras who went out of business when CA banned them. I cut each one in half, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and then FoodSavered them. I got a few tips from this Michael Ruhlman piece on serving it at home:

http://ruhlman.com/2011/04/serving-fo...

The day I was ready to cook a piece, I sliced it into about 3/4" pieces, covered tightly with plastic wrap and put back in the fridge til I was ready to cook it. A chef friend gave me two recs. One, in addition to s&p, add some sugar. It gives a great little caramelization. He also suggested serving with grilled peaches. Definitely a great idea.

You'll want to have everything ready and plated before cooking, wine poured, etc. I have an induction cooktop and use a CI skillet. The first time I actually got it too hot. So not really smoking. Having cooked four pieces now, I find pretty consistently that it's 30 seconds on one side and 20 on the other. If you're not super careful, you'll have the loveliest and most expensive puddle of foie 'grease.' :(

I served with a beautiful but simple salad and toasted brioche along with the peaches.

The same chef recently cooked us a wonderful little pasta dish. He sautéed peas, Marcona almonds and scallions over a tubular pasta (bigger than penne) and the sauce was "foie butter," a mixture of foie gras and butter cooked til melted!!! Talk about over the top.

I'd love to hear what others do with foie gras. I understand from a fellow CH that once a year D'Artagnan has free shipping and they carry Hudson Valley foie so it will be in my future.

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  1. Excited and the link is very helpful to a newbie like me. Lots of ?'s:

    Do you ever enjoy foie gras cold? Any particular type of fg I should look for at say, WF's? That pasta dish has me very curious. Would you recommend the pasta dish or just a simple toasted brioche serving for a fg virgin?

    34 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      There are three grades; I got A. No veins. Beautiful.

      http://www.gourmetfoodstore.com/foieg...

      The majority of the FG in the US comes from Hudson Valley FB:

      http://www.hudsonvalleyfoiegras.com/i...

      I'd have the FG with the brioche definitely. The 'mouthfeel' - yeah, yeah, I know, but this is all about mouthfeel - is simply indescribable. Think of the most featherlight thing you've ever put in your mouth. This is even more so. And for non-liver lovers (and that would be ME) there is NO liver taste. Remember, that's almost all fat.

      What's totally decadent is to fry up a couple of eggs the next morning in the little bit of fat that inevitably releases. Fry 'em, put on your plate and pour that last little bit of fat over the eggs. Oh, damn, I'm hungry now :)

      1. re: c oliver

        Well, I'm diving in. I need a new food project!

        You've mentioned several ways that I can easily try it. I'll start with a small Grade A piece and see where that leads me.

        Ever melt a piece inside a split baked potato?

        1. re: HillJ

          I've never heard of anyone being able to buy less than a whole one so let me know if you find a source. I'm not sure that even a hot baked potato would melt it. But i'd only want it alone with the occasional bit of that peach with it. The last time I fixed it, I used roasted pear since it wasn't peach season. Still mighty good.

          1. re: c oliver

            Just the newbie in me showing. The grilled fruit sounds very good to me too. We'll see. I'll shop on Thurs.

            1. re: c oliver

              Try it with rhubarb stewed with a little OJ, sugar and good balsamic this time of year - awesome and very springy!

              1. re: gingershelley

                Wow, that sounds very different. Like the tartness. Thanks.

            2. re: HillJ

              Hudson Valley does sell 2 oz frozen portions that are vacuumed packed and will keep in freezer until ready for use.
              A good way to enjoy FG without committing to a whole lobe.

              Yes it is nearly double the cost but maybe worth it for some.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                I ordered the lobe but had two partners in crime to share the cost with. We're going to cook together and figure this fg out! Should be a blast based on the enthusiasm I'm reading here.

                I've seen the frozen portions in Whole Foods but the online thru HudsonV was a snap.

                1. re: HillJ

                  Makes sense. 1.5- 2 pounds is a lot for an individual to go though without sharing with friends or doing a dinner party.

                  You could certainly buy the whole lobe cut and vacuum pack your own portions

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    That's what I did with the now-defunct Sonoma FG. I actually went to their warehouse and picked them up. They were the ones who said it was fine to divide them, vacuum pack and freeze for up to a year. It provided us with four meals over about a ten month period and I could detect NO discernible difference in texture or taste. This thread is getting me SO in the mood for more. That was my 65th birthday present for last year and I've already bought my 66th :) But I DID win some in the casino last night so....?

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Thing is, I've NEVER had fg, ever. So, part of the reason I called up two friends to share this order was in case I'm not a fan....hard to imagine I know...but I've gone this far w/out ever having tried foie gras...and I've finally reached the point where I want to know what I've been missing.

                      1. re: HillJ

                        Well, it tastes - to me anyway - NOTHING like liver. It's almost all duck fat...of the very best kind. Do you ever have fried tofu? Which I now call "poor man's foie gras." That's the closest I can come to describing the texture. But even lighter. Probably the only thing I would describe as completely melt in your mouth. I can't imagine your not loving it. Can't wait to hear all about it.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Yes, I enjoy tofu and other foods we would describe as melt in your mouth. I really have no explanation as to why I've passed on fg until now except to say I'm the only gal in my circle of food friends standing w/out an experience of her own....until Friday that is.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            The people I know who don't like it say it's 'too rich.' Some people have a real aversion to fat. That has never been one of my problems ;) I don't personally know anyone who loves it as much as I do. I basically do not pass up an opportunity to order it, and in fact choose restaurants based on whether they have it on the menu regularly.

                            I like liver, and sometimes I can detect a liver taste ... personally I think it's a tad underdone when this happens. Sometimes I eat the whole thing and no whiff of liver.

                            I can't think of anything else to compare it too, really, but if you think butter is a good thing ... I know what it's like. Extremely well-rendered fatty brisket, there is a similarity there I think.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              love you, C, but man, I can't imagine a more disconnected comparison than tofu.

                              I can't bluddy stand tofu. But don't you dare stand between me and a lobe of foie.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                Owe you. I was trying to describe the texture of seared foie gras. And the only thing that came to mine is fried tofu. PLEASE do better :)

                                  1. re: law_doc89

                                    In your always humble opinion, of course. But maybe your food culture isn't very wide.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Tofu and sea cucumber. After that, very wide. Jelly fish, now there is a source of protein w/o calories.

                                      1. re: law_doc89

                                        Oh, wow! You don't like sea cucumber?!? We had them - espardenyes - in Barcelona not long ago and they were one of the best things we ate. And we ate A LOT of good things. I thought they tasted like lobster.

                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8665...

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          I don't like food that fights back when you bite it. Lobster? I think what you had must have been flavored with lobster, SC doesn't have that natural flavor; much closer to calimari, but much tougher and slightly bitter, even medicinal.

                                          BTW, they are being used in fish farms to clean the bottoms of the "pens" because they live on waste.

                                          1. re: law_doc89

                                            Perhaps YOU'VE had something that tasted like that. What WE had and the CH who posted on that link had was one of the best things ever. Before we ever arrived in Barcelona I knew I wanted to eat this delicacy and it exceeded my expectations. As you can see from his and my photo, it's simply prepared, a quick saute' with butter and lemon. I'm sorry you've not experienced it.

                                            BTW, Paco Meralgo, where we had these, is arguably one of the best tapas places in the city. Maybe someday you also can have the pleasure.

                                             
                                  2. re: c oliver

                                    Inside, I'd compare the texture to pudding or custard. The tofu I've had has a lot of structure that foie gras doesn't. It's almost molten, just about to dissolve.

                                    I just read today that supertasters have increased perception/mouthfeel for fat. Interesting ...

                                    1. re: foiegras

                                      That's a good comparison. With fried tofu, the outside gets a little texture and the inside is almost molten. I'm open to descriptions.

                                    2. re: c oliver

                                      I didn't think you were comparing taste, just texture. That's what I got from the comparison anyway. Like the feeling of touching semi firm tofu.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        Nope. Like fried tofu. Where there's a little/tiny amount of crisp on the outside and it's melting on the inside.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          lol...I was thinking of the fg right out of the pkg...not prepared (yet)....I get you!

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            OK, I see. I'm not really a tofu fan, but the fried tofu I've had has never been melting inside ...

                                        2. re: c oliver

                                          Part of it is that I detest tofu, so I'll freely admit to not being 100% fluent in all of its forms.

                                          But to me more like a melty cheese -- not completely without texture, but velvety and (cringe) unctuous.

                                          In a terrine, it's almost like cool butter - holds its form just fine, but melts as soon as it reaches the warmth of your mouth.

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            I know people ugh over "unctuous" but this is one of the foods, IMO, that 100% qualifies for it use. Yeah, maybe pudding. Maybe that melt in the mouth-iness of seared pork belly.

                          2. re: c oliver

                            You're killing me here with the egg idea ...

                            One of the best preparations I ever had included a 'chocolate gastrique' (sauce). There were figs involved as well ... usually there is some type of fruit. I also remember a slightly sweet vanilla risotto studded with dried strawberries.

                          3. re: HillJ

                            Just learned WF only sells fresh duck & duck parts. No fg. Never put two and two together before. The duckie/veggie/combo pates looked unappealing.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              They don't sell live lobster, either. only (ugh) frozen.

                              1. re: ChefJune

                                Funny how I didn't put the pieces together until today...walking around in a daze of confusion :)

                          4. My daughter just recommended cold foie gras and warmed figs...

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: HillJ

                              Bob and I can eat a half one so easily that there's never any leftover :)

                              It was quite a splurge (my 65th) and some anger for a family-owned and operated business having to shutter. And I WILL have more some day.

                              1. re: HillJ

                                Try soaking jumbo pitted prunes in Armagnac, and then stuffing them with Foie Gras. (D'Artagnan calls them "French Kisses!")

                                1. re: ChefJune

                                  That sounds amazing! I ordered the foie g this morning....

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    Oh goody!!! IIRC, L Nightshade posted on DOTM about risotto with seared foie on top.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Oh I'm doomed....from cheese to foie....what a way to go! :)

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Thanks for starting the thread c o. I'm going to pursue a good deal of offline reading before I dive into the splurge of fg!

                                      2. re: HillJ

                                        And I'm glad I did because the local shops selling fg looked awful.

                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                          This post blank intentionally ;~)

                                      3. Well you might want to check out this cookbook, the Chef loves foie gras.
                                        http://www.amazon.ca/Au-Pied-Cochon-M...

                                        22 Replies
                                        1. re: Ruthie789

                                          And their friends across town, the festive folks at Joe Beef....

                                          http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Living-...

                                          There is no foie gras in the world that is not their friend, and they have a few amusing and clever uses for it in the book. It's a fun read!

                                          1. re: gingershelley

                                            One of these days I'm going to make it to Montreal and I'll be hitting them up, for sure :)

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                Then you will have an opportunity to try Foie Gras in many different ways including Foie Gras Poutine. Eric Ripert featured Martin Picard on one of his shows on PBS and the whole segment was on Foie Gras.

                                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                                  Oh sigh :) We do house exchanges;I really gotta look at Montreal (and Quebec).

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    I really shouldn't do this to you but as they say in French un avant gout:
                                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aR17Y...
                                                    After posting this saw the last frame, it is a bit much but the rest of the frames does showcase the foie gras.

                                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                                      And as they say in English...Holy shit :) That was simply amazing. How does he stay so thin??? Okay, Montreal, I'm squeezing you into the travel rotation...soon! Thanks for that, Ruthie. Scrumptious.

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        Apparently Martin Picard has some influence in the foie gras field. He has helped it to make a resurgence and he also has suppliers that he recommends to chefs like Eric Ripert. I watch too much food tv. He opened a sugar shack in the last two years and it is reserved to maximum at all times. In that site he also serves foie gras and some wild meats. Montreal is a great restaurant city as someone else mentioned, Joe Beef in this same thread, which is also a carnivores paradise.

                                                      2. re: Ruthie789

                                                        I feel full just watching that! ;)

                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                          Portion control is not a concept at his restaurant.

                                                        2. re: Ruthie789

                                                          Just by chance Anthony Bourdain will be featuring Montreal tonight on CNN at 9 pm on a show called Parts Unknown. He calls Montreal the happening place in culinary cuisine. It may be a repeat. not sure.

                                                2. re: Ruthie789

                                                  Foie gras pizza!!!!!! Now that might be going a bit too far.

                                                  I'm curious if foie can (or maybe should is the better word) be eaten raw. And since foie gras dishes, i.e., terrines, are cold, is it good cold as mentioned by HillJ?

                                                  I'd love to hear of any other preps that don't diminish the foie-ness.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    It certainly is good cold, or cool room-temp, but I don't relish it 'raw'... it needs some prep and careful handling; i.e., removing the veins, shaping, poaching, etc. before it is consumed if you aren't just going to slice and sauté it.

                                                    1. re: gingershelley

                                                      Thanks. I couldn't quite get my mouth around "raw." The quality of what I bought was so good that I had no 'veins' to remove.

                                                    2. re: c oliver

                                                      As someone who is in Montreal and who has ready access to Grade A foie gras, I've done the raw thing. It's okay, but mi-cuit and torchons are nicer because you can add things to enhance the experience (e.g. Sauternes).

                                                      Can't see foie gras pizza working too well unless you top the pizza with cubes after it comes out of the oven. Otherwise, you're going to get a really oily pizza.

                                                      For a hot alternative to seared, I've been wrapping escalopes in Savoy cabbage and steaming. I am also working on a squab and foie gras recipe from a photo taken of Robuchon demonstrating sous vide at Star Chefs (breast and foie also wrapped in cabbage).

                                                      And if you need to eat your vegetables, I've also melted a foie gras to make bagna càuda.

                                                      1. re: wattacetti

                                                        Bagna cauda with foie gras? If there's a heaven, please let me go to that one. Is your FG as crazy expensive as ours? I can't imagine being able to 'work on' things. It all sounds great.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          Your celery sticks will have never tasted better.

                                                          How much do you pay for your foie gras? It was about $60-70 for a whole one the last time I purchased, but I'm going back to the market for some more later on and will pay attention to the price this go-around.

                                                          I do a pop-up "routier" (truck stop) for laughs (meaning no money changing hands when it's friends and completely not for profit when asked to cook for an event) so I only work on things when I'm preparing a dinner menu for it. At best, perhaps 8-9 times a year with foie gras because some truck stop menus are not as special as others.

                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                        No, you don't eat it raw...you can eat it mi-cuit (barely cooked) and cold, but not raw.

                                                        I'm one who prefers it baked in a terrine dish in a bain-marie to just past mi-cuit, then chilled and served on plain white toast which has been lightly toasted to dry it out and make it a bit crispy, but nothing more than just a hint of golden-brown.

                                                        Then a sprinkle of sea salt.

                                                        Nothing more. Yep, I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to foie.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          I don't know about raw. Terrines are baked. My favorite way to "do" foie gras. (then I can stuff it into prunes...)

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            Some people eat it raw, just thinly sliced onto bread. Here's a recipe with shaved raw foie gras on top of raw scallops:
                                                            http://www.cahierdecuisine.com/recett...

                                                            And here's a recipe where the foie is covered in salt and then soaked in milk. No cooking.
                                                            http://www.cuisinemetisse.com/entrees...

                                                            Here's one where it's just sprinkled with salt and pepper and some Armagnac, and that's it:
                                                            http://www.toques2cuisine.com/2009/11...

                                                            1. re: DeppityDawg

                                                              Unique and appealing. Thanks for sharing.

                                                        2. Wrap with cabbage leaf and poach.

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: law_doc89

                                                            Yep, what wattacetti said. I'm just not sure I can give up that little 'crust' on the outside :)

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              To me the sear is without question what makes it worthwhile. Others can have the terrines and all of that ...

                                                              1. re: foiegras

                                                                I know. At least here in the US, this (for me anyway) is a major splurge. I'll love all the others but when paying it for myself, I just want it seared and served.

                                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                                  Okay (holds shopping bag open for FG to give it all to me....)

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    well, I did remember one good use for non-seared foie gras ... I had some stuffed pasta (similar shape to ravioli but rectangular like a pillow) with foie gras mousse that was very good indeed.

                                                                    But the cold foie gras, you can have.

                                                                    1. re: foiegras

                                                                      I suppose there's a pedant out there who would point out that it's not all that great when truly refrigerator-cold..

                                                                      ...it should be cool, but you should pull it out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before serving.

                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                        <you should pull it out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before serving> that's true of all cold foods -- even ice cream.

                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                          Depends on where you are, of course.

                                                                          In Florida, ice cream will be a bowl of milk in 30 minutes.

                                                            2. Catherine, you can order from Hudson Valley Foie Gras direct yourself.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                Yep. But a FB friend told me once a year D'Artagnan has free shipping and they have the Hudson Valley so it would cost less that way.