Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Whole Roasted Moulard Duck Foie Gras with Apples and Black Truffles

I don't think it's any secret that when I started cooking The French Laundry Cookbook, I was completely squicked out at the thought of deveining a foie gras. After angsting about it for months, I eventually did it and found it strangely satisfying... and now I actually look forward to it. So, when the foie arrived from D'Artagnan, it was all I could do to get through that first 24-hour soaking in milk before I could get to the deveining. I know. I'm weird. Let's just get that out of the way, shall we? Okay, moving on...

Here's the foie in its packaging, and after having soaked in milk, just before deveining:

After deveining it and putting it all back together, I covered it in salt, pepper, and a little bit of sugar, then put it in a glass baking dish. I pressed plastic wrap tight against it, then wrapped the entire dish and let it marinate in the refrigerator for about 10 hours.

This dish originally called for thin slices of Granny Smith apple and chunks of truffle to be served with it, but I was so enamored with the foie with pickled cherries I'd made this spring, that I decided to improvise a bit. Foie gras is very rich and incredibly decadent, so I wanted something sweet, tangy and a little bit zippy to go with it. So, instead of the Granny Smith apple slices and truffle, I made a rustic apple and onion relish. I peeled, cored and cubed three Granny Smith apples, chopped up half a red onion, and put it all in a pan with some red wine vinegar, salt and sugar:

I cooked it over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes, then on medium-low heat for about twenty minutes, then let it come to room temp:

It smelled so lovely, I couldn't wait to try it with the foie. I preheated the oven to 475 degrees and got the foie out of all its wrappings. I cut off a small piece of the foie and put it in a heavy sauté pan to render the fat so there would be some fat upon which to sear the whole foie. I then scored the top of the foie and placed it top side down into the hot pan, moving it around so that the sides of the foie would touch the inside edge of the pan, as well. After about 5 minutes when it was sufficiently browned, I flipped it, added five unpeeled-but-smooshed garlic cloves, and did the same thing to the other side.

When the other side was starting to brown, I placed a bunch of thyme on top of the foie and placed the entire pan of it in the oven for about 5 minutes. I took it out and let it rest for 5 minutes before removing it from the pan to a serving plate:

Look at all that drippy, awesome fat. I shudder in the presence of its awesomeness.

Because this dish naturally lends itself to being served "family style," I invited the neighborhood and a few other friends over to celebrate a great week for French Laundry at Home. I served this in the dining room, and we all stood around the table slicing off pieces of foie, placing them on toasted brioche and baguette, topped with the apple and onion relish, and devoured almost the whole thing in no time. The relish was a huge hit, and I'm surprised that we plowed through the foie as quickly as we did. It was absolutely delicious, and the best preparation of it I've made thus far. If you're feeling a bit decadent this holiday season, and you have adventurous friends when it comes to eating, I recommend trying this. It's incredibly easy to make, and if that first bite doesn't make your eyes roll back into your head, then I don't know what will, you crazy monkeys.

Up Next: Roquefort Trifle with French Butter Pear Relish

Foie Gras from D'Artagnan
Garlic, apple, chives and thyme from Whole Foods

Music To Cook By: Yael Naim, assorted. There's a lot of great music coming out of France lately, and Yael Naim is my new favorite. She's a bit quirky, but the music is boppy, odd and fun. A friend of mine in LA hipped me to it, and I'm glad he did. Enjoy!


Katy said...

I just tried foie gras for the first time this week (I am a terrible, awful, cheating vegetarian, but it was at a very fancy restaurant and I couldn't resist)! So now I can say difinitively that this sounds deliciously amazing.

Tara the Foodie said...

I LOVE foie gras, but have never prepared myself at home. If you don't mind me asking, how much did that amount of foie gras set you back? I'll bet it was outrageously expensive. I so wish I lived in your neighborhood. :-)

Carol Blymire said...

Katy -- and they always say that bacon is the gateway meat for vegetarians! Glad you liked your foie!

Tara -- the foie was $80, I think. Not too bad, actually.

Anonymous said...

I've never eaten foie, and I've never seen it except in FLAH photos. In your "after soaking" photo, there are two hunks of foie. Is it two foie, or 2 pieces of one foie? (Sorry for being so uninformed, but I don't know, so I'm asking. A liver has only one lobe, right?.... so....why are there two pieces?)

Glad the foie and your improv'ed relish were hits.

Anonymous said...

I have a small piece of foie leftover from a stash a friend brought back from France. I ate part of it cold on bread, the last morcel may now have to be cooked and served warm.

jop, I think foie is like fudge or more accurately ham, if you break in two then you have two pieces of foie, even if you call the whole thing foie gras too. However, what Carol's picture shows may translated from the french to be called "hunks of goodness."

...ok, wait, I had to look it up, and it turns out the French have a regulation, which defines the categories. Roughly translated:

1) "Foie gras entier": whole duck foie gras: preparations made up of a whole liver or one or more lobes of the liver, of goose or duck according to case, and a seasoning;
2) "Foie gras": duck foie gras: preparations made up of pieces of lobes of foie gras, goose or duck according to the case, smooshed together(agglomeres in the original french) and a seasoning;
3) "Bloc of goose foie gras": block of duck foie gras: preparations made up of foie gras, goose or duck according to case's, reconstituted and a seasoning.

It then goes onto other preparations.

Hope that helps.

Carol, thanks again for another great posting, I admire your discipline to delay the last cheese dish.

Carol Blymire said...

JoP -- I split the foie into its two lobes, one small and one large. From the top, it looks like it's just one giant liver, but it's really two lobes. When I took it apart to devein it, some smaller pieces from the underside didn't really stay together, and during cooking, fell apart. I love when that happens, because they're nice little bite-size morsels for ME to enjoy. ;)

Anonymous said...

I discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago and find it fantastically useful. Great stuff. I'm a big fan of the book though my experience with it is far from exhaustive.

The challenge that has given me (by my wife) is that I can try out the recipes, but I have to serve them "family style". She gets wigged out by 'platings' at home---and admittedly so do most of our friends. Some might consider this blasphemy.

One of my favorites is the bass-parsnip-spinach-saffron-vanilla combination you did a few weeks ago. I've done that a number of different ways. Anyway, the fois gras sounds like a natural for this.

dc365 said...

Hm. Same city, same love of cooking and food, same sense of humor...Why aren't we friends yet? Or maybe we are, DC being such a small town and all...Anyway, next time you have a fois gras only buffet (!) I will be dropping by.

Anonymous said...

WOW! I'm very impressed by your ambitious undertaking to make all of Thomas Keller's TFL recipes. I got TFL and Bouchon for xmas last year and have been slowly venturing through them! Congrats on your Food Blog Awards win as well. And to top it all off, along with dc365, you're a fellow Washingtonian. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for explanation the foie photos, Carol. I'll know what to expect if I encounter it myself one day!

May Tam said...

you know that drizzly beautiful foie fat? i am collecting ways to use it. pan-seared figs is a fav. also drizzled over mashed potatoes...

hola from Silver Spring, btw. :)

Unknown said...

Those are Welsh onions, not true shallots.

Anonymous said...

This is one dish that I wouldn't call ANYONE to help me eat. :) I'd scarf it down all by myself.

Is that bad?

Anonymous said...

I really love your blog, I can tell you really enjoy cooking. As a lover of foie above all things, I couldn't resist the urge to give you a tiny tip for the next time you attempt foie.Next time try heating the pan a lot, and placing thick slices of the foie directly on the pan (no need to score, no need to render the fat-the foie IS fat). Leave on for no longer than 2 min on each side (5m on each side must have seriously diminished the amount of's too expensive to let it melt like that). Then slide direcly onto a plate. It should have a dark crust on the outside, and be deliciously and orgasmically smooth on the inside. You shouldn't have to chew fresh foie, it should melt in your mouth.

I've eaten foie in the US, and it's usually worse than in France because it's overcooked.