Thursday, November 17, 2011

Foie (Done Well) With Apples and Black Truffles

As opposed to 'well done.'  My biggest fear when I was reading the directions was burning it and wasting a $100 piece of meat.  (Is liver meat, even if it comes from poultry?  I just don't know).  A gigantic piece of meat that felt like the fake wax fruit my grandma has in her "fruit bowl."  Not a fan of how foie gras feels.

So imagine my debate about the 'picking out the veins' thing.  See, The French Laundry Cookbook has this whole set of instructions about soaking it, cutting it down the center, following veins with a small knife, not being afraid of really digging them out because foie is like play-doh and it all comes together at the end.

But these instructions are with a different foie recipe.  It's not at all clear whether you are supposed to go through all of these hoops when you cook it in other ways.  I looked at it.  Thought about it.  And decided that it's probably best if I did it that way.  If anyone knows any better, please tell me.

Elaborate pre-step #1: Soak it in milk.  For like an hour.  And more than once.  But the time you are done, the foie resembled slightly soggy wax fruit.

Elaborate step #2: deveining.  This is way way too messy to even contemplate photographing.

Elaborate step #3: put it back together.  I really REALLY butchered the foie trying to get veins out (this is definitely not my forte).  So after salting and peppering the foie, I wrapped it as tight as I could in some saran wrap.  Then I wrapped it the other way.  And the other way again.  A roll of saran wrap later... i'm left hoping that it really does stick back together like promised.

So, you know the apples and truffles thing?  Couldn't get any truffle.  Unlike the last time I needed them and just was too cheap to go and buy them, this time I had the promise of a truffle.  I had someone promise to set one aside for me.  I had that someone leave work, apparently with the truffle not set aside for me.  Then I had someone else sell my truffle.  After discovering that I wouldn't have a Bristol Farms truffle after all (thanks a bunch!), and knowing that I didn't have a way to get one in time, I just decided to substitute an onion.  Because clearly onions = truffles, right?  (You don't need to answer that)

I basically just diced/sliced this all up and made a type of relish with it.  People loved it.  It was rather ugly, so I didn't take any pictures.

Time to cook the foie.  I don't think I can portray how nervous I was.  I mean, i've never eaten or even SEEN a whole lobe of foie, so I had no idea what it was supposed to look like (except for the picture in the book).  And, again, $100 chunk of meat.  I cut a little piece off, and melted down in the pan (pretty much all fat)....

Oh, yeah, wait: I made some little dry brioche croutons first.

Now, back to the foie.  I unwrapped it.  It stayed together.  I scored it.  It still stayed together.   It was fantastic to score, since the scores stayed so nicely.  Maybe this stuff really IS like play doh!

Then I got the pan really really smoking hot, and slid it in.  I bided my time.  i was patient.  And when I flipped it over.... SUCCESS!!!!

Seriously, check out that gorgeous, gorgeous piece of foie.  I cooked it more on the second side, slid it onto a platter, and brought it out.  Forgot to take a final picture, but I really really think this will do.

So, how was it?  Good.  Not quite as squicky as the chicken liver toast my law school roomate made me try at ABC Kitchen (which tasted good, I just couldn't move past the texture).  The texture here was luxurious, smooth, rich.  It was good.  Rich, oh so rich, that I could only finish maybe 2 toast points.  And I was constantly a little squicked out by what I was eating.  But, luckily, my husband and two other (male) guests just inhaled the rest.  Thank goodness none of the $100 piece of meat went to waste!

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