1. Receive a free lobe of foie gras from Mirepoix USA.
3. Consider your options. (Option 1: Go as Foie Gras Head to that Halloween party; Option 2: Sear it and serve it; Option 3: Make a torchon from The French Laundry Cookbook.)
4. Decide on Option Two.
5. Meet Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune and ask her what she would do with a lobe of foie gras if she received one in the mail. Hear her say, “I’d make the recipe that appeared last summer in Saveur where you cure it in salt.” [This is the recipe. I think the article’s by her sister.]
6. Decide to make that recipe.
7. Consult Meg who has also received a lobe of foie gras. Let her convince you not to make that recipe, but to make Option 3: the torchon from The French Laundry cookbook. She says, “It’s totally worth it.” She says she’s going to make torchon with hers.
8. Decide to make that recipe.
9. Challenge her to a Torchon Tournament.
9. Begin the process.
10. Unpack the lobe into a container:
11. Cover with milk:
12. Let soak overnight to draw out the blood.
13. The next day: take it out, rinse it off, and cover with a damp towel.
14. Let it come to room temperature for 45 minutes.
15. Separate the lobes:
17. It gets better.
18. Begin deveining. Keller says to leave the lobe intact somehow, but this proves impossible. Chop it up and pull out all the veins:
19. Squish it all back into the tupperware in one flat layer:
20. Prepare a mixture of salt, pink salt (nitrates–available by mail, ask Michael Ruhlman), sugar and white pepper:
21. Sprinkle half the mixture over the layer of foie gras. Flip the layer, and sprinkle over the other side.
22. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours:
23. 24 hours later pull off the wrap:
24. Remove foie gras to parchment paper:
25. Shape into a loaf 6 inches long and 3 inches wide:
26. Roll into a log and place at the short end of a piece of cheesecloth:
27. Roll tightly. Tighter! Tighter! Tie the ends!
28. Bring chicken stock to a simmer.
29. Lower the wrapped foie gras into the stock for 90 seconds:
30. Remove to an ice bath:
31. Place on the short end of a dish towel:
32. Torchon MEANS dish towel.
33. Roll up tightly, tie the ends and hang it in the fridge overnight.
34. Next day, invite people over.
35. Make a plan for dinner.
36. Make butternut squash soup from The Bouchon Cookbook:
37. Set the table with seasonal flair.
38. Hear the doorbell.
39. Greet your guests.
40. Thank them for the wine.
41. Tell them to sit.
42. Serve them soup, topped with cream and a fried sage leaf:
43. Make them pose:
44. Serve them salad with farmers market lettuce, Bosc pears, toasted walnuts and bleu cheese:
45. Toast brioche triangles in the oven for 12 minutes:
46. The moment is here.
47. Take the foie gras from the fridge.
48. Unwrap the towel.
49. Capture all this on video (coming soon!)
50. Hear the “ooohs” and “aaaahs.”
51. Pull off the cheesecloth.
52. Slice off the ends.
53. Slice the foie gras into six 3/4-inch slices:
54. Notice that one piece has nasty veins but the rest look good.
55. Give Patty that piece.
56. Place the rest on nice plates with a brioche triangle and sour cherry jam. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve:
57. Sit down and enjoy with the Sauternes you bought yesterday near the movie theater. (A $15 bottle–a steal!)
59. The foie gras is rich and flavorful and tastes like the one you had at Per Se oh so many years ago.
60. Pat yourself on the back.
61. Pat Patty on the back.
62. Hear her growl, “Mine has a red eye in it.”
63. Look at all the dishes.
64. Sigh with despair.
65. Realize you have one piece of torchon left over and that you can bribe a reader to do your dishes in exchange for that piece of torchon.
66. Realize that any reader who would do that is probably crazy.
67. Ask Craig to do the dishes.
68. Go to bed.
69. Wonder how Meg’s turned out.
70. Bet mine was better.