Thursday, 5 June 2014

Seven Days of Foie Gras: 4) Whole Roasted Moulard Duck Foie Gras with Apples and Black Truffles from Thomas Keller

Continuing this week's series highlighting seven great foie gras recipes and the cookbooks behind them. Previous entries:
The dish: A whole duck foie gras is scored, seared and then roasted in the oven for five minutes until slightly soft, like a rare steak. The liver is rested and sliced, while in the meantime apple pieces and truffles are sautéed together in the rendered fat and served on this side.

Why it’s special: Cooking a whole foie gras is a rare and festive dish which you almost never see in restaurants (aside from the cost, it just doesn’t work in a traditional individual-plated-portion setting). This rarity makes it a magical dish – serving up a whole foie gras sends a certain message about generosity and luxury which you just couldn’t with a comparable weight of individual portions. Do bear in mind this dish isn’t one for the faint-hearted due to the main ingredient’s alarming tendency to melt away to a puddle almost as fast as you can cook it.

The chef and the book: Neither really need any introduction. I would say though that the French Laundry Cookbook is also one of the best hands-on books for foie gras you will find anywhere. There is an extensive spread going through the cooking options and preparation techniques (including the dreaded deveining process) and along with the roast foie gras there are also an unusual poached foie-gras recipe (cooked in Gewurztraminer) as well as Keller’s famous foie gras au torchon where the liver is not so much cooked as barely melted together. Also don’t miss Keller’s iconic description of what a perfect hot foie gras looks like on p105:
… you need the proper thickness-three quarters of an inch to 1 inch-for the three textures you want in perfectly sautéed foie gras: a crisp exterior, an almost-molten interior, and a very slim center this is firm because it’s still rare.
Coming up tomorrow: A humble take on pork pies and vinegar from one of Britain's greatest chefs.

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