Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Foie Gras Day! Smackdown: The Prep

Many of you have been asking me and the day is finally here. It's foie gras day! Confused? Let me begin at the beginning. A foodie friend of mine and I recently had a little discussion about foie gras via email on which specific preparations were best. Before it dissolved into name calling and questions of parentage, Chef Karl Benko intervened and suggested we settle this like cooks and have a dinner to decide. We agreed. So was born the idea of the Foie Gras Smackdown.

Well, smackdown day is almost upon us. The strategy? I will prepare the foie gras torchon from the French Laundry cookbook while my opponent has opted for the simple, seared approach. (See the basis of the argument?) Karl, who has laughed heartily through the entire thing, is bringing something, too, which we know will blow both of the rest of us away. And the day for this fatty liver fest? Next Monday. Our 8 dinner guests will help decide. Today, the foie arrives and I will get a lesson in cleaning before I cure mine (in kosher salt, sugar, white pepper, and pink salt, natch).

What else does the torchon entail? In a nutshell, the foie is cured, rolled up tight, poached for a very short time (about 90 seconds), then packed even tighter in a dishtowel for a few days. It produces a creamy, smooth preparation and is best served with a sweet jam or sauce. Have I done this before? No, but Meg at Megnut and Adam at Amateur Gourmet both made this dish last fall, documented their progress along the way, and made it sound and look pretty easy. (Check out their results linked just above -- they did great!)

So, if I report on odd goings-on this week, you'll know why. And next week, if I'm out with the gout or a clogged artery, blame the foie! Or the wine. It's Foie Gras Day!

No comments: