What Do You Do With An Engorged Duck Liver In Your Fridge?

Dear Abbey,

Hi, it’s me again, you remember I wrote you in the 4th grade because I felt guilty about pulling the chair out from under Stacy Epstein and you told me I was immoral and going to burn in hell? Well I need more advice! What do I do with this foie gras?

IMG_1.JPG

It came courtesy of Mirepoix “the premier site for foie gras, charcuterie and truffles.” It’s been sitting in my fridge for a few days and I was going to make a torchon but now I think I may just cook it straight in the pan. What would you do, Abbey? What would you do readers? How would you serve it? Can you believe that a liver that size was once in a duck or a goose?

Thank you,

Poultry Liver Eater in Park Slope

26 comments

  1. slice it 1 cm thick slices, fry it quickly in a heated pan. Separately,

    prepare a caramel from sugar , add some butter and calvados, cook in the mixture apple slices.

    pour the softened caramelized calvados slices over (or under) he seared foie gras slices. Serve with a nice wine and baguette or toasts.

    Share it with friemds or with your eversmiling mom and dad.

    Bon Appetit and Shalom

  2. Just happened upon your site a few days ago and now I’m hooked! Great job on all the reviews and related food writing. My vote on the foie gras is to do searing rather than pate…so much better! An idea would be to order peking duck with pancakes and add a freshly seared piece of foie gras in the wrapped pancake. I’ve tried it on several occasions and it’s yummy.

  3. Raspberry Foie Gras

    12 oz. fresh foie gras (it’s up to you and your idea of fresh)

    24 slices of baguette (each 1/4″ thick)

    1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

    1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

    1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam

    1 tbsp. butter

    1 tbsp. vegetable oil

    Salt and pepper

    1. Cut foie gras into 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick slices with a sharp knife (run the knife under hot water before and after each slice). Place slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and chill in the fridge until ready to cook.

    2. Place baguette slices on a large baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F. for 3-4 min. Flip and bake another 3-4 minutes or until crisp but not too brown. Cool and reserve.

    3.Combine 1/3 cup butter and thyme and mix well. Spread butter onto one side of 12 of the baguette toasts, and spread raspberry jam onto the remaining 12 toasts.

    4.Heat 1 tabsp. each butter and oil in a large skillet over med.-high heat. Season foie gras with salt and papper and fry for 30 sec. to 1 min. Remove and drain briefly on paper towels.

    5.Further slice foie gras into 12 toast-sized pieces. Divide evenly between raspberry toasts. Cover with buttered toasts. Serves 6.

  4. Wow, I’m glad Abby made you feel a little bit guilty! Me, I wouldn’t touch the stuff, but I’m a little bit more careful about what I put in my body than most people. I only eat grass-fed, pasture raised dairy, meats and eggs (a la Blue Hill). It’s much better for you health wise and it isn’t the wierd sci-fi experiment that we do on most animals today. However, I don’t think Foie Gras is any worse ethically than your average industrial egg farm/factory. So what’s the difference? If you don’t mind eating an industrial egg, eat your heart out with the foie gras. I’m sure these ducks have been treated better (albeit nurtured to have a diseased liver) than your average omellette making hen.

  5. Whatever you do, please post the reactions of your Mom and Grandma.

    I still love the “no oil for me” line.

  6. Ali,

    While it’s great that you choose to eat only grass-fed meat and eggs, that’s your choice and there’s no need to be a self-righteous prig — which is exactly what your post makes you sound like. I too prefer to eat only organic, locally raised meats, eggs, and vegetables, but I don’t condescend those who make different choices. I am thankful everyday that I am able to afford such a luxury. Yes, these foods are a luxury. I try to remember that there are billions of people in this world (including millions in the USA) who not only can’t afford to be so picky about their food choices, but who also go hungry.

  7. Somewhere in my boxes, I have an excellent recipe of foie gras mi-cuit with piquillos and espelette pepper. It’s going to take a while to find it but if it can inspire you…

  8. Anonymous,

    Too harsh towards Ali! You both make good points, but Ali makes his/hers without name-calling.

  9. Cleaning the foie gras of the veins that are lodged between the two lobes is really important to do. The first time I tried it, I really made a mess of it. But I found that molding it back together and wrapping it tightly in a triple layer of cheesecloth and letting it rest in the refrigerator for a few hours made the foie gras perfect again for slicing and pan searing.

  10. Adam – you certainly have enough there to do both – make torchon and fry some up in a pan. Just keep it simple. An ingredient such as this needs little more than sea salt and a little tart jam to make it shine.

    I highly recommned the potted foie gras recipe in the Bouchon cookbook (and, because you force the liver through a seive, you don’t have to do all of the tedious vein-removal by hand). Furthermore, if you cap all of your pots with butter, they will last for months in your fridge; you can use your little Wecke jars I saw you make jam with last year or something. They’re perfect.

    When you fry it, you will have to remove all of the veins with a small, sharp knife; sometimes there is a slight wet dog smell from the liver, which might make you not want to eat it when you are finished, but you just have to push through. If you do sear it, remember it is almost all fat! Get your pan really hot and sear it dry (it will produce its own lubricant) for under one minute on one side and then flip and repeat. It will melt to nothingness if left too long, at which point you could saute other nice things in it, like fried rice (decadent, yes, but splendid).

    If you are still in doubt, you can just overnight it to me, and I will make some foie gras pots and maybe send one back to you. Cheers!

  11. Adam – you certainly have enough there to do both – make torchon and fry some up in a pan. Just keep it simple. An ingredient such as this needs little more than sea salt and a little tart jam to make it shine.

    I highly recommned the potted foie gras recipe in the Bouchon cookbook (and, because you force the liver through a seive, you don’t have to do all of the tedious vein-removal by hand). Furthermore, if you cap all of your pots with butter, they will last for months in your fridge; you can use your little Wecke jars I saw you make jam with last year or something. They’re perfect.

    When you fry it, you will have to remove all of the veins with a small, sharp knife; sometimes there is a slight wet dog smell from the liver, which might make you not want to eat it when you are finished, but you just have to push through. If you do sear it, remember it is almost all fat! Get your pan really hot and sear it dry (it will produce its own lubricant) for under one minute on one side and then flip and repeat. It will melt to nothingness if left too long, at which point you could saute other nice things in it, like fried rice (decadent, yes, but splendid).

    If you are still in doubt, you can just overnight it to me, and I will make some foie gras pots and maybe send one back to you. Cheers!

  12. Thanks for inadvertently educating me. I thought foie gras only came from goose liver. And knowing is half the battle.

    This past year int he French Alpes I had foie gras for the first time served over apple slices a la the first post. It was amazing.

  13. I was just curious how much that thing weighs — it looks huge!

    When I was in Seattle a month ago I ate at a restaurant that served me seared foie gras with a fried egg, beautiful brown bread, and icey cold grape preserves. It was absolutely perfect, and simple.

    Have fun — can’t wait to see the results!

  14. when i was in culinary school we soaked the fois gras in milk for a while to draw out the blood (i believe that was the reason, it was awhile ago). Then tackled the veins before pan searing. I love fois gras all ways but pan searing is by far my favorite.

  15. Adam

    Yes, you have enough to try two things. Do try a pate — both Bouchon and Zuni have great receipts. And also try some sautees in the manner which best suits your fancy. And have Craig bring some Y’quem — a truly wonderfully hedonistic evening. With that you do not even need a good table from Sirio.

  16. My vote is for pan searing it and serving it with apples or an apple compote. Plus I’d love to see photos of you de-veining it. Good luck!

  17. To Ali and Anonymous: Hudson Valley Foie Gras is a NY regional producer, which covers the “local” base of food ethics. Ali, it’s great that you eat organic; you might consider spreading out to include local/regional small producers (organic or conventional) as well, because while it’s great for your body to be healthy, it’s better for your body *and* your environment to be healthy. Anonymous: organic/local/sustainable foods can obviously be expensive to buy. But the NYC Greenmarkets accept food stamps, as do CSAs, which subsidize rates for low-income families to join. JustFood works to try to restore poor immigrant families with farming backgrounds to self-sufficiency in regional food production. Rather than classing off organic foods as luxury items, we might consider ways to strengthen sustainable food networks to make that food more readily available to, and supplied by, the people who would benefit most it.

    Amateur Gourmet: Since food ethics have sneaked their way into your blog (I was hoping, actually, to see that you were a CSA member), have you read Jeffrey Steingarten’s article on foie gras? It was stimulating. It’s actually available online at Men’s Vogue.

  18. dude have fun. i once had an entire lobe like that one and there was no feeling more sinister (in the culinary realm) than slicing it up and searing it off with a bit of salt and pepper. holding. the taste of sin, dogg, the taste of sin.

  19. About a year ago I had a fois gras milkshake with a fois gras and, I think, quince beignet. It was at a restaurant here in Portland, Maine called Hugo’s. The chef, Rob Evans worked at the French Laundry for some time. No idea how one would make these two dishes but they were quite extraordinary. These days I am a vegan, but I will stay far away from the ali-anonymous debate. I find it interesting that food is becoming such a forum for political beliefs.

  20. I’ve had success slicing it on a bias and vacuum sealing it and freezing it. When needed just defrost in cold waer and it takes just a few minutes. That way , I’ll have foie gras whenever I want. We usually just put salt and pepper and quickly pan sear it . Serve it with some kind of fruit compote or satuernine jelly and you are all set! I find that this preparation goes fast as an appetizer

  21. I’m a vegan, except when there is cheese or meat available. :) I do think a vegan diet is healthier for me, and I feel a lot better when I’m strict, but truth be told, I’m just an inconsistent human being, and that’s one of the foibles of being human. I do my best.

    And while I’m sure most all animals we eat are treated horribly, there is just something a little bit “more” awful (to me) about foie gras. Plus, I’m just not a huge fan of the flavor or texture of it either, so the way it’s made not withstanding, I probably wouldn’t eat it anyway.

    But I digress… it’s not for me to judge someone else’s food choices. But I do admit that I’m becoming a bit more discerning about my own in my old age. :) ~Monica

  22. What do you do with it? Have you considered returning it to the folks who sent it to you, along with a polite letter stating your ethical objection to foie gras production?

    Look, I love meat; animals are yummy. But there’s no reason why food animals can’t be treated humanely. And, alas, there is no such thing as “humane” fois gras. If you have no problem eating foie gras, do what you will with it. I, personally, urge you to consider my suggestion.