As soon as chef Sherrie mentioned a dinner with foie gras as the main course I could not wait to make it.
For me pate, mousse de canard, foie gras steaks are worth all the work and calories.
When I was in France a couple of years ago I had the opportunity to stay with a wine maker that also was an awesome cook. She showed me a special room where she stores all her terrine, country pates and compotes. Since then I do not pass an opportunity to make any of the above items. Also that same year I had a one-on- one training with a french chef. The training was all about foie gras, duck a l orange and his techniques for making pate. This was such an opportunity to learn about one of the great cuisines I love to eat and make.
Let us start by buying a frozen or fresh lobe of foie gras . If you get it frozen let it thaw in the fridge for about two days then take it out and put it in a bowl of cold water to defrost completely before working on it. For mousse ,terrine and pate you need to devein the lobe. When searing a foie gras steak you can omit this step.
As you see in the picture above the lobe is split and you have to run your fingers gently and feel where the veins are. You can use twizers if it is easier or a pairing knife to pull it out. You will notice a big long vein in the center. If your foie is a little damaged by working with it, don’t panic ,once put together and covered with fat, or put in a torchon it will reform.
Recipe for the Mousse de Foie Gras
1 1/2 lb of fresh or frozen foie gras, Grade A
2 tsp of fleur de sel
7 juniper berries, crushed
3 tsp of quatre epices a french spice (you can find it in specialty herbs and spice stores)
1/8 c of cognac
1/2 c of heavy cream
2 1/2 c of milk to soak the lobe of foie gras in
A couple of thin white cloths for the torchon(french word for cloth used to wrap the foie gras). I used a fine woven cotton dish towel.
A roll of plastic wrap
A large pot 3/4 filled with water
A few strings for tying the end of the torchon
As a first step you need to clean the foie as shown above.
As soon as this is done soak it in the milk and let it rest for a couple of hours at least. This helps draw the blood out.
Remove the foie gras and pat it dry with a clean cotton towel.
Meanwhile prepare the pot of water and let it come to a boil. Turn the heat off. Roll the foie gras in the plastic just like making compound butter. It has to be tight. Repeat the process twice so you have two layers of plastic surrounding the foie gras. Twist the ends tightly and knot. Then get the white cloth to make a torchon, using the same process you did with the plastic wrap. Tie the ends with the string. Insert into the hot water. Leave it there until the water is luke warm to the touch. I left the torchon in the water for around 1 hour.
Take the torchon out of the water and remove all of the wrappings. Place the foie gras and all of the ingredients for the mousse and blend till smooth. Line a rectangle terrine with a plastic wrap and pack the mousse in it and smooth the top.
The mousse should be packed down like you do when making a meat loaf.
Pour the cognac gelee over it to seal it. Refrigerate for a few days .
For the gelatin follow the instruction on the gelatin box. In this case I used one envelop of gelatin powder with 1/2 c of cognac and 1 tsp of sugar. Dissolve and pour over the mousse. Let sit for a couple of days. The unmold and cut into portions. I cut about 3/4 inch slices then cut each slice in half to top the Foie Gras steaks and potato galettes.
To Prepare the Foie Gras Steaks
I used another 1.5# lobe of Foie Gras.
Cut the Foie Gras into 1/2 – 3/4 inch thick slices, salt and pepper, crisscross with a pairing knife to score a diamond pattern into both sides of the steaks.
Bring a dry saute pan to very high heat. Place the Foie Gras steaks in the pan and sear each side for 40 seconds. This is one of those recipe where you can not turn away to attend to anything else. If you leave the steaks in longer the fat in the Foie Gras could completely melt and turn the steaks into a puddle of mush!!!! Not exactly what you probably had in mind after spending upwards of $100 per lobe for Foie Gras!
Remove the seared steaks. You can keep them warm in a 170 – 200 degree F oven for a short time till serving.
5 tbsp of flour
1/2 onion diced
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
After shredding the potatoes squeeae the water out of them. In a bowl put together all the other ingredients and add the potatoes. Make a pattie in the palm of your hand. Place the potato pattie in a hot skillet with a little melted butter and fry till lightly golden brown in color and potatoes are cooked. Set aside on paper towels.
2 c of sugar
1 c of water
1/2 c of cherry juice
1/2 c of white vinegar
1 c of fresh pitted cherries
1/4 of a vanilla bean pod (open and scraped)
In a pot cook the sugar until it turns into a nice caramel brown color. You will need to constantly stir your sugar so it does not burn. It should be a pretty amber brown color.
Slowly add the liquid if the sugar consolidated don’t worry. Keep stirring until it dissolves again. Add the cherries and cook for half hour until the sauce reduces a little. You might want to add 1 tbs of corn starch of it is too runny. Do not add too much starch since it will change the flavor of the sauce and make it grainy. Strain the cherries from the sauce and reserve. Set aside.
1 yellow onion, sliced as thin as possible using a mandoline
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
Heat a medium-sized skillet and add the butter and oil and heat on medium heat. When the butter and oil are hot add the onions and let them sweat. Stire frequently. After the onions become transparent add the sugar to help the onions caramelize. This took about 45 minutes – 1 hour. Remove the onions and place on a plate and set aside.
2 Granny Smith Apples, washed, quartered, sliced thin
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup apple juice
Melt the butter in a large skillet until hot. Add the apples and sauté for a 5-10 minutes until the apples begin to slightly soften. Add the apple juice and continue to cook until the apples are soft but not falling apart. Remove from the heat and place in a bowl so the apples will not cook any further. Set aside.
Assembly of Dish
To assemble the dish use a pastry brush to lay a strip of the cherry gastrique on the plate. Nest place a few slices of the cooked apples. The place a potato galette on top of the apples. Next place the seared Foie Gras Steak on top of the potato galette. Then place another potato galette on top of the Foie Gras Steak. Add the caramelized onions followed by the Mousse de Foie Gras. Last sprinkle with a few micro greens and a few of the cooked cherries.
I wish I had a plate of this to eat right now!