Saturday, 7 June 2014

Seven Days of Foie Gras: 6) Foie Gras Five Ways from Charlie Trotter

Continuing this week's series highlighting seven great foie gras recipes and the cookbooks behind them. Previous entries:

The dish: This is a mighty composite plate comprising five separate foie gras preparations.
  1. Seared foie gras served with braised cabbage and golden raisins.
  2. A foie gras terrine interleaved with slices of Buddha’s hand fruit (no I’ve got no idea either; apparently it’s a type of exotic citrus).
  3. Another terrine of cured foie gras, smothered with a chanterelle gelee.
  4. A foie gras custard (basically foie gras crème brulee without the brulee).
  5.  A foie gras and apple ice-cream.

Why it’s special: This dish might as well be called “Heart Attack Five Ways”. I’m not going to claim it’s the most radically inventive plate ever created (although there are nice touches, like the Buddha’s hand fruit and the ice-cream). However as a set-piece shock-and-awe assault on the palate and the arteries it cannot be matched.

The chef and the book: The late Charlie Trotter is a controversial figure in the foie gras world – it was his original decision to ban it from his restaurant that lit the touch paper for the acrimonious Chicago foie gras ban. This book dates from just before that announcement so we have the peculiar picture of him cutely shooing chicks at a foie gras farm (see scan below), despite later claiming it was just such a visit which turned him against foie gras. However I much prefer to focus on the book itself which is IMHO the highlight of his blockbuster quintet of Charlie Trotter’s cookbooks. Even though he predates the molecular wave, we shouldn’t forget how much we owe him for his improvisional style and (for the time) daring flavour combinations. This is a must-have volume full of big, ballsy, beefy flavours.

Coming up tomorrow: We end the series with the world's unluckiest chef (and author of one of the worlds most underrated cookbooks)...
Charlie relaxes with a few feathered friends...

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