Sunday, February 18, 2007

Working with foie gras

So the great experiments began on Friday. I picked up the foie, but of course wanted to wait to play with it until Dave was home to share in the adventure. I pulled out more than a dozen cookbooks with references to and recipes for foie, so I felt like I did a pretty decent literature search and research. I settled on two apps to begin: a salt-cured torchon of uncooked foie, to be served with brioche, and seared slices to be served with pomegranate molasses and an apple-rosemary compote. For the first app I used a recipe from "Jacques Pepin Celebrates" but I only used the small lobe of one foie, not an entire 1-1/2 pound liver. The second app I pulled together from several sources, getting the idea of rosemary with fruit from two different recipes and the idea of using the pomegranate molasses from having had pomegranate seeds with a raw foie app in my class. But first came the cleaning of the foie. I am *so* glad that I got to try this in class last summer, because it can be really scary how the thing is just ragged after you pull out all those nasty tough veins. And it did make Dave stop and do a double-take, I could tell he was wondering if this was the way it was supposed to be. But then you just sprinkle it with salt, white pepper, and cognac and roll it up in plastic wrap. A day in the fridge and the salt-cured lobe is nice and firm. That's for eating on Sunday after the brioche is cooked. For the seared application, I just rolled the big lobe back up after the cleaning (not as thorough for this one, as the small veins just shrink up when cooked) and wrapped it in plastic wrap. Put it in the fridge overnight for prep on Saturday. When Saturday dinner time gets here, I start getting nervous. This is very confusing to me, as I know exactly what I am doing. And I've even seared this stuff in class. But for some reason I have a significant panic reaction, I can feel it in my gut. Annoying as all get out, I must say! So I screw my courage to the sticking point and move ahead. The "surf and turf" was the seared foie and seared sea scallops. So I got the sea scallops seared off and put them in a low oven, then the foie slices went into the very hot skillet for about a minute and a half total. I think I would slice them even thicker, on the thick side of 3/4", next time I do them. But they turned out just fine. The plan was to serve baby greens with a vinaigrette of dijon, shallots, sherry vinegar, and walnut oil, and at the last minute I decide to candy some walnuts to go in it. That was a good move, there were too many soft things and not enough texture in this meal without that. Three scallops and three slices of foie on each chop plate, the salad at one end, a little of the apple-rosemary compote on the other, and a little of the pomegranate molasses drizzled at the side of the foie. Looked very nice, and tasted even better. Served with a Quady Essencia wine, as I didn't have a bottle of Sauternes. The sweetness worked well. And the apple compote was absolutely great with the scallops as well as the foie. I'll do that for another scallop meal another day, I think. Time to go, the brioche smells done...

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