Serious Eats featured our foie gras in one of their Food Lab features. If you ever wanted to know how to make a foie gras torchon read all about it here!
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Did you know that with just $65 and a bit of effort, you can serve your holiday guests the king of all hors d’oeuvres?
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and venture a guess that for the vast vast vast majority of you, this post is gonna seem less than 100% useful. I mean, a cured, fattened duck liver barely cooked and rolled up in a kitchen towel? What the heck kind of a dish is that? How many people even eat foie gras to begin with, mush less at home, and who in their right mind wants to spend three days working on a single cold appetizer?
And fair enough. But if the current state of media is any indication, welove to learn about things we’re never going to do for ourselves. We haveshows that answer questions like, “can a cockroach survive a nuclear holocaust?” There’s an entire documentary about training dragons. And how many of you are prepared for the zombie apocalypse that, to be honest, will *probably* never happen?
By those standards, making a foie torchon doesn’t seem so far fetched, does it? And it shouldn’t! It is, after all, one of the pinnacles of Western cuisine, combining centuries of exploration into the fields of animal husbandry and breeding, curing and charcuterie, flavor development, and of course general kitchen badassery.
The basic process starts with really good foie gras. Living in the United States, fortunately this is relatively easy to find. There are only two foie farms remaining in the country (the third, Sonoma foie was recently closed due to California law), both of them located in the Hudson Valley in New York, and both of them producing excellent foie gras from very well-raised ducks. (Take an inside look at La Belle Farms here). Once the liver is cleaned of veins, it’s cured in a mixture of salt, sugar, and pepper, along with a splash of liquor such as brandy or Sauternes, before being rolled up tightly into a cylinder, typically inside a clean kitchen towel (that would be a torchon in French). After hanging for a few days, it’s gently poached, chilled again, then served sliced.
A perfect foie torchon melts on the tongue like the creamiest butter, but with a distinct cured sweetness that forms the perfect balance for a perfumed wine. It’s simple to serve—just slice it, put it on a piece of toast, add a bit of dried fruit or preserves, and go—and let’s face it, it’ll impress your guests.
Foie gras ain’t cheap, but it’s not out-of-this-world expensive either. A full liver—enough to feed at least 10 to 16 people—will run you $65 if you order it online (I recommend Bella Bella Gourmet, who were kind enough to provide the foie I used for these recipes.