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How to Sear Foie Gras

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Foie gras with mango and pear

Foie gras with mango and pear

For the longest time, foie gras was a sliver of culinary paradise reserved for high-end restaurant dining. That is, unless you placed an order directly from the likes of Hudson Valley Foie Gras or through Central Market. And then, the cut of liver was large and whole, and you had to cut it yourself before searing it in a pan.

Thanks to the folks at GauchoGourmet, 935 Isom Road, you can now buy this delicious cut into slabs and individually packaged, so you can get two or 10 servings, depending on your hunger or the size of your guest list.

A 2-ounce slab sells for about $$6.35, which is a great price compared with what you pay in restaurants. But the food warehouse recently had a one-day sale that made me want to stock up for the future.

First, I had to get one necessary piece of cooking equipment: a splatter screen.

Searing foie gras produces a lot of fat that will coat the area around your stove. So, be ready to clean up a good-sized area around your pan, even with a splatter guard.

Think you can’t cook foie gras as good as you get at a restaurant? Think again. A 2-ounce slab, cut about 3/4 inch thick will cook quickly, but it’s easy, if you pay attention for a good minute.

Before you start, make sure you know how you want to serve the meat and have everything else ready, because you want to serve your dish immediately after the foie gras is cooked. Remember, this is an ephemeral treat, exceedingly rich and satisfying, yet its magic works only for a short while. You don’t really want leftovers.

Slabs of foie gras

Slabs of foie gras

My inspiration was a foie gras club sandwich that chef Andrew Weissman used to serve at Le Rêve. I simplified it greatly, eliminating the buttery brioche and bacon as well as any sort of balsamic reduction. I retained the silky mango and topped both with slivers of pear, instead of the Granny Smith apple that Weissman used. Both the slab of mango and the pear slices were ready to go before I cooked the meat.

What else could you serve with it? Foie gras is great with a glass of Sauternes on the side, so why not a sauce made with a similar wine, such as a German Riesling, that mixes a touch of sweet with a bright acidity to cut through the unctuousness of the liver? Honey and lemon, a drizzle of thick, aged balsamic or sherry vinegar, or a Rossini sauce made with truffles would all go well with it. If you wanted to use a spoonful of jam, think fig, ginger or onion. Nuts and dried fruit, from cherries to figs, would also add to the flavors.

Luciano Ciorciari of GauchoGourmet says he likes his on a piece of toasted baguette with a touch of sweet-tart preserves, such as red currant or lignonberry.

If you wanted to use the foie gras atop a hot steak, just cook the beef first. While it is resting, sear the goose liver.

Handling the liver is easy: Just thaw the slab, score it on both sides (the depth of the criss-crossed cuts will depend on how thick your slab is), and sprinkle it with a little salt and finely ground pepper. Heat a non-stick pan or a regular sauté pan with the tiniest bit of grapeseed or avocado oil until the pan is extremely hot. Place the slabs in the pan and cover instantly. The fat will begin to melt off the slab and splatter. After no more than 30 seconds, flip the foie gras and cook for the same amount of time. Remove and prepare to serve.

That’s it. Then comes the fun part: eating it.


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2 Responses to “How to Sear Foie Gras”

  1. caitline says:

    Isn’t the foie fat enough to add grapeseed or avocado oil in the pan?

    • John Griffin says:

      It should be, but I still like a light bit so it won’t stick. I don’t use non-stick cookware. If you have it, you could use that and avoid the oil.