Sunday, March 25, 2007

French Laundry Torchon: Day 3

Friday morning, I awoke to a taunting email from one of my fellow smackdown competitors. This particular foodie believes that foie is best served simply -- seared and eaten. He had been following my progress with my new little friend. He was also taking off for the weekend.

"While [braingirl] is busy coddling her liver, bathing it in milk and whispering sweet nothings in its ear (lobes), I am ... Doing nothing. Going to Chicago for the weekend. Watching basketball. Making sure I have salt and butter. That’s about it. Points for simplicity."

Heh. Sear and eat may be good, but it won't have the satisfaction of following a fine -- if smelly -- French cooking technique. Mine will taste better because of finesse! My progress?
Day 3: My foie, maybe we'll name him something French like "Georges" or "Poindexter", happily spent the night in his cure. About 9:00 p.m. Friday, I unwrapped him and started to, um, how do you say, massage. (How much fun is that for a Friday night, huh?) Actually, I rolled out parchment paper, then began to shape the meat into a log about 6 inches long and 3 1/2 inches thick. It takes a little bit of getting used to, and yes, it's pretty gross. (It does smell a bit funky.) But it doesn't take too long. Once the torchon was shaped, I laid out a piece of cheese cloth about 2 feet long and transferred the foie to its new home. I wrapped it tightly in the cheesecloth (pulling it out and back as I rolled), then perfected my string wrapping and tying technique as I continued to shape and compact the torchon in the cheese cloth. Once I tied off the ends, forcing it even tighter as I wrapped, I tied three pieces of string around the middle. The cookbook says this is for reshaping later, but I didn't use them.

Meanwhile, I brought a pot of chicken broth simmer. Once the temp was right, I placed the cheesecloth wrapped and tied foie into the broth and simmered for 90 seconds. I was amazed at how much fat it lost in such a short time! I removed it to an ice water bath, then rolled out a clean cotton twill dishtowel. When the foie had cooled, I wrapped it up tightly in the towel going back through the compressing/tying routine until I had a compact little package of foie. Be warned, it's messy since it literally oozes through the cheesecloth and towel.

Once all was wrapped tightly, I followed their recommendation and have hung it in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. Actually, it will come out on Monday night so it will have a good 72 and the cookbook says they'll last that way at least 1-2 weeks.

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