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Top Pick Of The Week

September 10, 2013

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Foie gras with a coat of almond praline. Photo courtesy Chef Scott Conant.

WHAT IT IS: Smaller pieces of foie gras, trimmed from the lobe.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: It’s half the price.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We can have foie gras more often, and be creative about how we serve it.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Dartagnan.com.

Vermillion restaurant decorates a filet mignon plate with cubes of foie gras. Photo courtesy Vermillion Restaurant | NYC.

Foie gras cubes. Photo courtesy Dartagnan.com.

 

Foie Gras For Half The Price


Some people have a passion for foie gras. This Top Pick is for you.


It’s so pricey at restaurants, that smart money says to buy it and cook it at home. Cooking couldn’t be simpler: It’s a quick sear in a hot pan. The sauce—from balsamic reduction to sautéed fruit or fruit purée—is up to you.

Even at home, foie gras is just about the priciest meat you can imagine. But you can buy it for half the price.

How? By purchasing “foie gras cubes.” Not exactly cube-shaped, these are the trimmings that result when a lobe of foie gras is cut into slices, also called scallops (see photo below).

Scallops or lobes are about $60 a pound. The foie gras cubes? $30.99.

Get them at Dartagnan.com. Don’t worry about buying too much: It freezes really well, and the cubes can go straight from the freezer into the skillet. Triple-wrap it: plastic wrap, foil and freezer bag (with the air squeezed out).

Serving Suggestions

There are many foie gras recipes to discover (or invent!). Here are a few quick and easy suggestions.

  • Breakfast: With scrambled eggs or with Eggs Benedict instead of the Canadian bacon.
  • Lunch: Instead of lardons on a frisée salad.
  • Appetizers: As a luxury nibble with Martinis (serve with a small cocktail fork or on a small toast).
  • Dinner: With a port wine and fig reduction, on a bed of lentils or any way you like! Gordon Ramsay serves it on a bed of Le Puy green lentils. 

How To Cook Foie Gras

If your pan is hot enough, the foie gras will cook in less than a minute.

  • Heat a skillet* to smoking hot.
  • Season the meat with salt and pepper. No fat is needed: Foie gras is 90% fat.
  • Carefully place it in the skillet (the flesh is delicate).
  • The pan should immediately start smoking and rendering fat. If it doesn’t, quickly remove the meat and continue to preheat the skillet.
  • Cook for 30 seconds per side to brown the surface. Spoon some of the rendered fat over the pieces of meat. Never cook for more than 60 seconds per side; the fat will continue to render and you’ll end up with a pan of pricey fat.
  • Let the meat rest on a paper towel-topped plate for a minute.

 

Here’s a video of Gordon Ramsay cooking foie gras.

Foie gras should be paired with a sweet white wine. Sauternes is the ideal match, but a late harvest Gewürtztraminer or Riesling can be equally wonderful.

In general, sweet or sweet-and-sour items pair best with the richness of seared foie gras:

  • Sauteed fruit, from apples to citrus to mango
  • Chutney, compote, jam or wine jelly
  • Sweet sauce: balsamic reduction, honey-vinegar sauce (for the simplest solution, heat cherry or fig jam with balsamic or sherry vinegar)

Enjoy!

— Karen Hochman

 

*Use a skillet that is capable of withstanding high heat.

 

     
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