Foie Gras is one of the ultimate gourmet indulgences.
It was ‘invented’ by the ancient Romans who noticed that geese were fatter when flying in one direction than the other. They started breeding foie gras geese and the took over centuries later, turning it into an art form.
Now there are producers the world over using humane methods to produce foie gras.
Here’s a couple of easy but impressive ways to serve it
How to choose:
Firstly, it’s unlikely that you’ll find fresh or chilled Foie Gras unless you live near a producer or specialist outlet.
Avoid canned Foie Gras. It’s terrible.
The Foie Gras in jars is normally a pate, and not the actual liver itself.
You’ll probably find it frozen in a sort of vacuum pack or shrink wrapped tray.
Choose one that looks smooth with a nice rich colour.
If it is icy or looks ‘dry’ in parts, avoid it. It has freezer burn or is improperly stored
Handling is important. Check the use by date, and check the buy sourdough starter uk. It should be rock hard, in a clean well maintained and working freezer.
The colour should be from beige to a fawn colour without blemishes.
Duck vs. Goose.
Both are good. Both have similar texture and taste. Both come in medium or high grade.
They do differ in taste but it isn’t dramatic.
Duck is normally a little less expensive as it is faster to produce at less cost to the producer. Many people prefer the taste of duck. Both are excellent. Don’t sweat it.
Try both, or buy either. It’s up to your preference. Start with duck the first time and move to goose the next time if you are not sure. Your guests will be happy with both.
Take it home and then?
Leave in the fridge for a few hours.
For handling and cutting, it’s best semi frozen.
Never leave on a bench to thaw at room temperature – food poisoning happens that way.
When semi frozen, take out of the fridge and pick it up. Split into two by pulling apart, or by gently cutting along the natural crease.
Look underneath for any veins and either trim them out or pull them out.
If you will be searing and serving it hot, slice it into pieces 1.5 to 2cm thick. (1/2 inch to 3/4 inch) using a thin sharp knife.
If it is frozen it will crumble when you cut. If it is fully thawed, it won’t cut nice and straight.
After cutting, cling wrap or vacuum pack tightly and return to the freezer. Seared Foie Gras medallions are best cooked from frozen or semi frozen.
If you will be making a terrine or serving it cold, break it apart with your hands (wear a fresh pair of food handling gloves), or cut it into a large dice. Marinate with crushed juniper, fresh thyme, bay leaves, coarsely ground salt or salt flakes, freshly ground pepper and a liberal sprinkle of Cognac, brandy or Armagnac
How to Sear Foie Gras Medallions
Heat the saute pan. Preferably use one of the following: Black iron, cast iron, stainless steel with thick aluminium sandwich bottom, or a new heavy duty non stick pan. Pan should be thick based, heavy, smooth and able to heat evenly.
When it is at medium heat, put the frozen or semi frozen Foie Gras medallions into the dry pan. (No oil)
Sear for just a minute or two with an audible sizzle, and then turn.
The Foie Gras should have an attractive seared brown colour. Touch the medallions in the centre when both sides are browned. They should be soft to the touch – not firm.
If soft on the outside but firm in the middle, it is still frozen inside.
If this is the case, rest in the oven for a minute or under a grill for a minute.
The Foie Gras should NOT be cooked through in the middle.
If you use warm or chilled or thin-cut Foie Gras when searing, the Foie Gras will be all meted away, or over-cooked, or not coloured enough. This is why we do it from frozen. It cooks very quickly.
Serve seared Foie Gras with: something sour or fruity.
I like to serve with caramelised apples and a balsamic reduction / balsamic glaze dribbled around.
To caramelise apples, peel and sliced them, pan-fry with butter and brown sugar, then flambe with brandy or cognac.
Finish with black pepper and fresh chopped flat parsley.
Other nice things are:
- Port wine jus, or
- Sauternes / Ice Wine / Botrytis reduction.
- Caramelised mango is also good, also with a balsamic reduction.