17 Aug2008

foie7

After the first course of tuna tartare, we shifted from raw and piquant flavors to a rich and buttery seared foie gras, with some sauteed green apples and plated with a garnish of fresh pomegranate “seeds”… I took one horrible and unusable photo of the foie, so I don’t have a picture of the actual dish served that night. But I do have photos of three other ways I prepared the extra foie gras in the days that followed that dinner. Foie gras is one of those things that intimidate home cooks. But with some self-confidence and the following tips, you should be able to cook this at home with just a little bit of practice. First of all, you must buy as fresh a foie gras as possible and if it is frozen, keep it frozen until a few hours before use, whereupon I take it out of the freezer for roughly 30 minutes on a kitchen counter, then back into the refrigerator to defrost for a few hours before cooking it. The foie MUST remain quite cold or you will have nothing more than an oil puddle when you cook it.

foie9

When it is soft and pliable, you need to devein the foie gras which involves carefully removing the large vein that runs through the two lobes of the liver. It is a bit messy, but quite easy to do. Try to do this as neatly as possible. And you also need to do it quickly so the liver doesn’t heat up too much and melt. Once deveined, slice it into 3/4 to 1 inch thick pieces, lay this on a plate and return to the coldest part of your refrigerator to chill it up again.

foie93

Just before cooking, take the foie out of the fridge, heat up a cast iron pan over high heat until hot, not smoking hot, and lower the flame to medium high. Meanwhile, score each piece of foie gras and season well with flaky sea salt, such as Maldon. Then add one piece to your cast iron pan and it should sizzle nicely if the temperature is just right. If the pan isn’t hot enough, you won’t get a nice brown caramelized color, and you risk the entire piece of foie gras simply melting away. After about 30-60 seconds, gently turn the piece over and cook another 30-45 seconds and it is done. Yup, it is indeed that simple. But lots of things can go wrong if you do not pay attention to the instructions above. Keep the uncooked foie chilled. Use a pan heated up enough but not scorching, and cook until just done on both sides. Do not cut the foie too thinly. Have everything ready when you start the cooking process. Many chefs suggest putting the cooked foie on a paper towel to drain off excess oil, but I don’t… why waste all that flavor goodness, and if you are worried about fat, why eat foie???

foie8

Look at the photo up top and the one above closely. There are two pieces of foie in the photo. The one on top of this salad dish is nicely done, in my opinion, and below it is a piece that was put onto the pan before it was hot enough… it looks positively anaemic. But I wasn’t going to throw it out. These seared pieces of foie were served on a small green salad with a strawberry (I didn’t have raspberries) vinaigrette. The dressing was both a bit acidic and fruity and this was a good foil for the rich foie gras. I like this classic set up of crisp light greens with intense slice of duck liver.

foie92

Another way to serve the foie is with some fruit, in this case cubed green apples sauteed in duck fat and butter and seasoned with a touch of salt. You may also add brown sugar to give it a sweeter note and again the acid and sweetness are a good foil for the foie grass. For the blogger’s dinner, I made an accompaniment of julienned green apples with some butter, apple butter and sugar. It was good, but in retrospect, not as good as this final preparation that I made just last night…

foie94

A generous slice of seared foie gras on top of dried figs sauteed in brandy and butter. The figs were sliced into medium sized pieces and placed in a small saucepan. I drizzled roughly 2 tablespoons of brandy over the figs and let them soak for a few minutes, then added a nice size knob of butter and simmered over medium heat until the liquid had reduced into a light syrup and the figs were just nicely caramelized and a bit sticky. I placed a small mound of the figs on a plate, then laid the foie on top. This last version was my favorite. And again, so easy to do. If you assume that you purchase a 500 gram foie for PHP2,500 or US$60. but you cut it into 8-9 generous portions, that comes out to about PHP300 per portion with other ingredients, each appetizer would run roughly PHP350, not bad considering you would probably have to pay PHP1,000+ for that at a fancy restaurant. As for the blogger’s dinner, when all was said and done, I asked the guests if they wanted more foie and we managed to finish all of the pieces that I had defrosted… a good 65 grams each on average that night… Delicious and nutritious, I am sure. After all, it IS liver, right? :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Your Pictures tell it all!! They look soooo delicious

    Aug 17, 2008 | 5:10 pm

     
  2. enteng says:

    i wish you had pictures of the foie gras while you were preparing it…

    Aug 17, 2008 | 7:49 pm

     
  3. kitkathie says:

    AWESOME! really yummy… Sure hope I get the chance to eat it. =)

    Aug 17, 2008 | 8:00 pm

     
  4. Vanessa says:

    This was part of last night’s dinner for me! We both have foie gras in the brain, it seems, MM!

    Aug 17, 2008 | 8:33 pm

     
  5. estella says:

    bettyq, would you have other ways of cooking foie gras?

    Aug 17, 2008 | 9:03 pm

     
  6. Marketman says:

    estella, a terrine or pate is another obvious method of preparation, but I haven’t done that lately…

    Aug 17, 2008 | 9:06 pm

     
  7. estella says:

    oh, mm, could share that recipe when you get the chance? so what
    are you doing on your birthday?

    Aug 17, 2008 | 9:20 pm

     
  8. Apicio says:

    Ordered a warm salad of seared foie gras and black truffle once in another (I was about to say life) now defunct restaurant, Le Régence in the Plaza Hotel Athénée on 64th and it certainly exceeded the ballyhoo and attendant expectation. One of those intensely pleasurable moments that is sure to come back and pass in review as they draw life’s final curtains (soon sampling four lechons will likely accelerate this curtain call closer to home ha ha).

    And yes it is a contentious fodder for discussion, even down to the pairing with Sauterne which certain quarters attribute to Americans (this is a terroir mined with snobbery after all). However, the matter was laid to rest for me when we were raving to a French sommelier once about a bottle of Sauterne we tasted earlier and his first encouraging query was whether we washed down slabs of foie gras with it. The bottle we opened was a Lamothe Despujols, Yquem was simply way beyond our means and aspirations while my vague familiarity with half of the name nudged me towards my choice (a Despujols was the reigning Spanish governor general when they condemned Rizal).

    But for the rest of us who are not so fortunate or lucky (fortunate are those who have access to it, lucky are those who get invited), let Epicurius who gave us the word with the polar opposite meaning console us with “Plain fare gives us as much pleasure as a costly diet.”

    Aug 17, 2008 | 9:38 pm

     
  9. Katrina says:

    I’m sure it goes without saying that this was my favorite course of that night, without question. And I was thrilled beyond belief about the actual possibility (one I made sure to take advantage of) of having seconds! Since I’ve only ever eaten foie gras in restaurants, I had never done that before.

    I’ve determined from all the times I’ve enjoyed foie that I would prefer to always eat it with something sweet, preferably a fruit, as opposed to a vegetable. So I was tremendously pleased when I saw that you had chosen to serve it with the apples. Oh, it was pure heaven for me! Attractively plated, at that, because of the bright red of the pomegranate. Absolutely brilliant, MM. I took some pictures and would send them to you to use, but they came out blurred — must’ve been my excitement to start eating already!

    The foie+fig pairing sounds divine! I adore figs and I’m positive its rich, deep sweetness and soft, sort of grainy texture would be a wonderful match to the foie. I had thought that, after this dinner, I wouldn’t crave foie gras for a while. But the third, and especially, the last photo proved me wrong! The foie looks exactly like my perfect French Toast — buttery, creamy, and caramelized.

    And I have to thank Socky, too, for the Sauternes. It was a dreamy pairing; it did full justice to your creation.

    Aug 18, 2008 | 1:16 am

     
  10. Tricia says:

    This is just so yummy!

    Aug 18, 2008 | 1:33 am

     
  11. Mandy says:

    oh my gosh…. that looks just absolutely delicious… waah.

    Aug 18, 2008 | 1:51 am

     
  12. betty q. says:

    You once told me MM …something about both our passion for food and sharing…I forgot your exact words!!! This is truly one weird coincidence? We are on opposite sides of the globe and yet …hmmmmm….really weird!!!

    Hi Estella: As i began to read MM’s post, my jaw dropped when I read what he served his dinner guests…TUNA TARTARE and foie gras! I thought I am the only “weirdo” as my husband initially thought so before he had a taste of what I made for them….Once a year,come Valentine’s Day, I prepare a special dinner for my love ones….my hubby and my 2 boys…we seldom go out for dinner…I made something as the first course, a seared foie gras…FOLLOW MM’s FOOLPROOF instructions …Then I deep -fried. whole wonton wrappers till they’re crispy….drain on papre towels…next cut thin slices of tuna sashimi..YUP> you heard me right! tuna sashimi…not too thick…make a red wine and balsamic reduction. …Now, for plating…crispy wonton wrapper on the bottom, tuna sashimi or carpaccio drizzled with the balamic vinaigrette…another wonton wrapper, seared foie gras, drizzled with the red wine and balsamic reduction. …top with another wonton wrapper….garnish with radish sprouts…So, you take a nice chunk of wonton crisp, a little tuna and also a nice chunk of foie gras with some radish sprouts….you have all these textures ….crisp, bland with a bit of a kick, silky, velvety smooth…playing like a symphony in your mouth!!!

    After finishing this appy, my husband ate his words!!!

    Aug 18, 2008 | 8:38 am

     
  13. Marketman says:

    bettyq, “good cooks think alike” maybe? Heeheehee… That does sound delicious and I shall remember to try it the next time I have tuna and foie in the house! :)

    Aug 18, 2008 | 8:43 am

     
  14. estella says:

    wow! you’re one hell of a cook, bettyq! have you ever thought of going into restaurant business or writing a book about your cooking expertise?

    Aug 18, 2008 | 9:19 am

     
  15. sister says:

    Try making a torchon next time…

    Aug 18, 2008 | 9:56 am

     
  16. cathy says:

    yummy! i love tuna!

    Aug 18, 2008 | 10:47 am

     
  17. Mila says:

    As the reason for the dinner, we definitely enjoyed seeing how MM scored and seared the foie, plus the bonus of seeing Katrina sear her first foie.

    Aug 18, 2008 | 7:25 pm

     
  18. Socky says:

    Just yesterday I was staring at a pack of foie gras at Santis Rockwell, contemplating a replication of a foie gras dinner a la Market Man. But I balked at the thought of ending up with some clumsily deveined, burnt, shrivelled liver. But this post is giving me the courage, plus the fact that I still have a bottle of sauternes left from that dinner…

    This is the most helpful, straightforward instructional on foie gras I’ve read, MM!

    Also, I can’t thank you enough for hosting a most wonderful, memorable dinner!

    Aug 18, 2008 | 8:59 pm

     
  19. betty q. says:

    You are too kind, Estella! I was given the opportunity to open one with two other guys but my boys were just too little back then and motherhood won over in a hearbeat!!! Besides, just like Silly Lolo, I am not business savvy like MM…I am contented with just preparing these dishes for my “guinea pigs”…hahaha…my hubby and my 2 big boys! But when I get the itch to work in an industrial kitchen, I just help my really good friends …two of my mentors, Regis and Nadine…with their catering when they have one….it’s like OLD TIMES and we have soooooooo much fun doing so!

    Aug 19, 2008 | 7:07 am

     
  20. joey says:

    This was definitely so incredibly good! As a big fan of foie, like Katrina, I was looking forward to being able to have “seconds” of this dish :) I thought the pairing with the sauternes worked brilliantly!

    Aug 19, 2008 | 6:58 pm

     
  21. Rico says:

    My mouth literally watered looking at the pics. REally!

    Aug 20, 2008 | 10:14 am

     
  22. cosmopolicious says:

    foie gras, figs and sauternes? simply divine.
    where do you get your fresh figs from?

    Aug 20, 2008 | 5:20 pm

     
  23. Marketman says:

    cosmopolicioius, I used semi-dried figs instead of fresh. I keep a supply in our fridge…

    Aug 21, 2008 | 10:29 am

     
 

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