Monday, 2 June 2014

Seven Days of Foie Gras: 1) Shaved Foie Gras, Lychee and Pine Nut Brittle from David Chang

A follow-up to my recent review of Ginor’s Foie Gras book. I’ve gone back and raided my bookshelf to find other great ways with foie grasRather than one big essay I thought I’d try something different and spend a week and highlight seven individual dishes with seven shorter daily posts. Here's the first - next one coming up the same time tomorrow.


Not... another... bloody... terrine!
You know what? Sometimes even foie gras gets a bit dull.

Nothing wrong with the taste of course. It's just that everyone only ever seems to cook it one of two ways.
  1. Either it’s served up cold as a terrine, with some fruity mush on the side to cut the richness or,
  2. It’s served up hot as sautéed slices with – you guessed it – some fruity mush on the side to cut the richness.
Not that I’m complaining of course! But nowadays I do tend to shy away from ordering the foie gras in a restaurant because well, to be honest, there’s only so many variations of foie gras + fruity mush a man can take. Plus I’m perfectly capable of sautéing a piece of foie gras at home for a fraction of the price Ducasse charges, and even making a terrine isn’t that difficult once you get the hang of it (anyhow you can always do the cheats version where you saute pieces of foie gras, cool, layer and weight them to produce an ersatz-terrine).


Thankfully it doesn’t have to be this way. As the Ginor book showed, there is a galaxy of other foie gras preparations out there without a terrine or a fruit compote in sight. The problem is however that so few chefs bother to make the effort.

So to save you the time I had a dig around my bookshelf and pulled out seven great foie gras recipes each which go beyond the conventional.


Recipe 1: Shaved Foie Gras with Lychee and Pine Nut Brittle

The dish: The first dish is David Chang’s notorious shaved foie gras with lychees, the signature dish at his high-end Momofuku Ko. Canned lychees (the cheaper/nastier the better) are chopped, placed in a bowl and topped with a Riesling/rice vinegar gelee and crushed pine-nut brittle (made with isomalt and glucose to keep the sweetness in check). Finally a mound of frozen foie gras torchon is shaved over the top with a microplane grater.

Why it’s special: This is a radical take on the tradition foie gras terrine + fruit combination. What elevates it are two things. Firstly the textural contrast from the crunchy brittle, the soft gelee and the melting snow-like foie gras. Second the temperature contrast where the coldness of the foie gras keeps its overwhelming fattiness in check. As Chang writes, it tastes almost light when you spoon it into your mouth, but as soon as it hits the back of your tongue – boom! Creamy, fatty, sweet and cold. Delicious.

The chef and the book: I’ve already written extensively about David Chang and the Momofuku cookbook. Let is simply be known 1) David Chang is a badass, 2) all he cares about is making food delicious (viz the cheap and nasty tinned lychees – if it works he will use it). 3) The pork buns ain’t bad either.

Coming up tomorrow: A classic dessert reinvented with foie gras by the world's most travelled chef.


  1. I predict...Vingerichten's foie brulee!!!!

    1. Dammit you're too smart for me! I was thinking of another NYC chef!

      Good point though I suspect there's a whole category of foie gras flan / creme brulee / custard / chawanmushi which I've missed out on (although it looks like the Jean-Georges version is more a parfait with a crackly top than a genuine brulee). I've had a good version at Angelus in London although not aware of written recipes for either this one or the Vongerichten version, alas...

      PS Nice blog I do enjoy a bit of Taiwanese every now and then. Do resurrect it if you ever find the time!