Don’t you love foie gras?
I spent a bit more than a week in France late November to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Every time I go back, I cook a lot. First, because most of my trips there are during the winter, and since we live in the middle of the countryside, there isn’t that much to do. Second, Burgundy is heaven for anyone who loves food.
We organized a party with many of our family members, and I was in charge of the meal. It’s not that easy to cook for a bit less than 20 people, and yet, the challenge is very exciting. Among all the things that came to mind, I decided to create a very simple menu, made of a cauliflower mousse as an amuse bouche, foie gras with pineapple, cassoulet, cheese and dessert. I will blog about the cassoulet later. I wanted to spend some time talking about the foie gras.
Preparing foie gras always sound like a very long & boring process while actually, it’s fun, and extremely rewarding. Of course, you need to prepare it at least 5 days before eating it, but your fois gras will always be better than anything you buy, and you can actually get very funky during the marinating process.
First of all, you need to buy a real foie. If you live in San Francisco, you can find them at the Golden Gate Meat, in the Ferry buildling. If you live in France, just go to your butcher! If you live anywhere else, well, you’ll have to do some research!
Before anything else, I always recommend to soak it in some milk overnight. It will take care of the blood. Then starts one of the funniest, and yet most important thing that you will do with your foie: removing all the nerves. Lay down your foie in order to see the separation between the two sides. This whole thing needs to happen without you completely destroying the foie. Try to keep the outside (the side laying on the table) intact, and be as brutal as you want with the inside. There is a main nerve in each side of the foie. Take care of that one. Then remove all the other little bit and pieces. ALL of them! It takes ages, it makes your hands dirty, but it’s the secret to a good foie gras.
Once this is done, lay the foie creating a layer of 2cm height in a dish. Sprinkle with salt (1 teaspoon per pound) on each side and pepper. You can also add some alcohol (who doesn’t like that?). This is the point where you can be fancy. For example, you can add bourbon, or orange vodka etc… Cover the foie with a plastic (very tight, no air between the plastic and the foie!) and let it rest in the fridge for 1 full day.
Boil some chicken stock. Transfer the foie in a cheesecloth, and roll it to create a log. Make a strong knot on each end. Drop the foie in the boiling stock for 90 seconds. Remove and throw in ice water. At this point, the foie would have lost some of its fat. That is good! Don’t be scared!
Move the foie to a “torchon”. A torchon is an old napkin (in french), or anything similar to this. Roll the foie in the torchon (still in the cheesecloth), tie very hard and hang in a cold place for 2-3 days.
Your foie gras is now ready. And yes, it’s really good!