CURED FOIE GRAS

FOIE GRAS IS NOT SOMETHING ONE PREPARES OFTEN.  OR EVER.  IT'S EXPENSIVE ($65 FOR A WHOLE  1.2- POUND DUCK LIVER FROM HUDSON VALLEY FARMS).  IT'S INHUMANE, ALTHOUGH THE LADIES WHO DAILY STUFF THEIR BIRDS WITH CORN USING A FUNNEL SWEAR THAT THE BIRDS RUN TO THEM TO BE FED.  IT MAY BE A STAPLE IN THE DORDOGNE, BUT FEW AMERICAN COOKS KNOW HOW TO PREPARE IT.  AND THERE ARE A MYRIAD OF WAYS TO COOK FOIE GRAS.  IT CAN BE SLICED AND SEARED QUICKLY IN A PAN, ROASTED WHOLE, POACHED OR CURED.  

FOR ME, IT'S A LUXURY FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS -- NEW YEAR'S EVE OR MY WIFE'S BIRTHDAY.  LYNN INCLUDES FOIE GRAS IN ONE OF THE MAIN FOOD GROUPS AND, WHEN WE ARE IN FRANCE, CONSUMES IT ON A DAILY BASIS IN IT'S MANY FORMS.

FOR HER BIRTHDAY THIS YEAR, I CURED IT.  THIS IS A RIDICULOUSLY SIMPLE AND EFFICACIOUS METHOD.  ESSENTIALLY, YOU DEVEIN THE LIVER, ROLL IT INTO A SAUSAGE SHAPE IN CHEESECLOTH AND BURY IT IN SEASONED SALT FOR THREE DAYS.  THE SALT "COOKS" THE FOIE, LEAVING IT ROSY PALE.  I SERVED IT WITH PICKLED CIPOLLINI, BUT YOU COULD SEAR APRICOTS OR PEACHES OR, AS IS TRADITIONAL, WITH CORNICHONS.  YOU'LL NEED GOOD BREAD -- A BAGUETTE SLICED AND TOASTED -- ON WHICH TO SPREAD THIS SINFULLY, BLISSFULLY RICH INDULGENCE.  

 1.20 lbs DUCK FOIE GRAS
 4 cups KOSHER SALF
 1 SPRIG OF THYME
 1 10"X20" PIECE OF CHEESECLOTH OR MUSLIN
 COTTON BUTCHER'S TWINE
 20 CIPOLLINI
 1 cup RED WINE VINEGAR
 1 JALAPENO CHILI, SLICED, SEEDED
 1 SPRIG OF ROSEMARY
 3 tbsp OLIVE OIL

1

LET THE LIVER GET TO ROOM TEMPERATURE. THERE IS A LARGE AND A SMALL LOBE CONNECTED BY A MEMBRANE. USING YOUR FINGERS REMOVE AS MUCH OF THE VEIN AS YOU CAN. DON'T WORRY IF YOU BREAK THE LIVER IN PIECES. IT WILL ALL COME TOGETHER WHEN YOU SHAPE AND ROLL IT. SEASON WITH SALT AND WHITE PEPPER.

CUT A PIECE OF CHEESECLOTH OR MUSLIN INTO 12"X20 RECTANGLE. MOLD THE FOIE GRAS INTO A SAUSAGE SHAPE ABOUT 2" IN DIAMETER AND LAY IT ON THE CLOTH. ROLL IT TIGHTLY IN SEVERAL LAYERS OF CLOTH (YOU'LL NEED MORE LAYERS FOR CHEESECLOTH). TIE ONE END WITH COTTON STRING. TWIST THE OTHER END TO COMPRESS THE FOIE GRAS IS TIGHTLY AS POSSIBLE. TIE WITH STRING. TRIM OFF EXCESS CLOTH.

MIX THE SALT WITH 3 TBSPS OF FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER AND THE CHOPPED THYME LEAVES.

SPREAD A GENEROUS LAYER OF SALT ON THE BOTTOM OF A 9" LOAF PAN, PREFERABLY PYREX. LAY THE FOIE GRAS ON TOP OF THE SALT MIXTURE AND PACK MORE SALT AROUND AND ON TOP IT.

WEIGH DOWN THE TORCHON. I USED 3"X6" TILES WITH SOME CANS ON TOP. YOU COULD CUT A PIECE OF CARDBOARD OR WOOD IN A SHAPE TO FIT INSIDE THE TOP AND PUT WEIGHT ON THAT. PLACE THE TORCHON IN THE FRIDGE FOR AT LEAST 3 DAYS TO CURE.

PICKLED CIPOLLINI

BRING A SAUCEPAN OF WATER TO A BOIL. MEANWHILE, SLICE OFF A SMALL PIECE FROM THE ROOT AND STEM END OF THE ONIONS. PUT IN THE BOILING WATER. BOIL FOR 1 MINUTE. DRAIN AND DUMP INTO A SINKFUL OF COLD WATER. REMOVE THE SKINS.

IN THE SAME SAUCEPAN, COMBINE THE VINEGAR, CHILI PEPPER, ROSEMARY, SALT, AND SUGAR. BRING TO A BOIL TO DISSOLVE THE SUGAR AND SALT. REDUCE HEAT. ADD THE ONIONS AND POACH GENTLY FOR ABOUT 5 MINUTES. LEAVE IN THE LIQUID TO COOL.

TO SERVE, REMOVE THE TORCHON FROM THE FRIDGE AT LEAST AN HOUR BEFORE SERVING.

PLACE IN A LARGE BOWL AND LIFT OUT OF THE SALT. BRUSH OFF AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. (SAVE THE SALT MIXTURE. YOU CAN USE IT AGAIN.)

SLICE OFF THE STRINGS AND UNROLL THE FOIE GRAS. IF THERE ARE ANY DARK PATCHES, SCRAPE THEM OFF WITH A SMALL KNIFE.

SLICE THE FOIE GRAS INTO 1/2 INCH PIECES. SERVE WITH CIPPOLINI.

SERVES 10

Ingredients

 1.20 lbs DUCK FOIE GRAS
 4 cups KOSHER SALF
 1 SPRIG OF THYME
 1 10"X20" PIECE OF CHEESECLOTH OR MUSLIN
 COTTON BUTCHER'S TWINE
 20 CIPOLLINI
 1 cup RED WINE VINEGAR
 1 JALAPENO CHILI, SLICED, SEEDED
 1 SPRIG OF ROSEMARY
 3 tbsp OLIVE OIL

Directions

1

LET THE LIVER GET TO ROOM TEMPERATURE. THERE IS A LARGE AND A SMALL LOBE CONNECTED BY A MEMBRANE. USING YOUR FINGERS REMOVE AS MUCH OF THE VEIN AS YOU CAN. DON'T WORRY IF YOU BREAK THE LIVER IN PIECES. IT WILL ALL COME TOGETHER WHEN YOU SHAPE AND ROLL IT. SEASON WITH SALT AND WHITE PEPPER.

CUT A PIECE OF CHEESECLOTH OR MUSLIN INTO 12"X20 RECTANGLE. MOLD THE FOIE GRAS INTO A SAUSAGE SHAPE ABOUT 2" IN DIAMETER AND LAY IT ON THE CLOTH. ROLL IT TIGHTLY IN SEVERAL LAYERS OF CLOTH (YOU'LL NEED MORE LAYERS FOR CHEESECLOTH). TIE ONE END WITH COTTON STRING. TWIST THE OTHER END TO COMPRESS THE FOIE GRAS IS TIGHTLY AS POSSIBLE. TIE WITH STRING. TRIM OFF EXCESS CLOTH.

MIX THE SALT WITH 3 TBSPS OF FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER AND THE CHOPPED THYME LEAVES.

SPREAD A GENEROUS LAYER OF SALT ON THE BOTTOM OF A 9" LOAF PAN, PREFERABLY PYREX. LAY THE FOIE GRAS ON TOP OF THE SALT MIXTURE AND PACK MORE SALT AROUND AND ON TOP IT.

WEIGH DOWN THE TORCHON. I USED 3"X6" TILES WITH SOME CANS ON TOP. YOU COULD CUT A PIECE OF CARDBOARD OR WOOD IN A SHAPE TO FIT INSIDE THE TOP AND PUT WEIGHT ON THAT. PLACE THE TORCHON IN THE FRIDGE FOR AT LEAST 3 DAYS TO CURE.

PICKLED CIPOLLINI

BRING A SAUCEPAN OF WATER TO A BOIL. MEANWHILE, SLICE OFF A SMALL PIECE FROM THE ROOT AND STEM END OF THE ONIONS. PUT IN THE BOILING WATER. BOIL FOR 1 MINUTE. DRAIN AND DUMP INTO A SINKFUL OF COLD WATER. REMOVE THE SKINS.

IN THE SAME SAUCEPAN, COMBINE THE VINEGAR, CHILI PEPPER, ROSEMARY, SALT, AND SUGAR. BRING TO A BOIL TO DISSOLVE THE SUGAR AND SALT. REDUCE HEAT. ADD THE ONIONS AND POACH GENTLY FOR ABOUT 5 MINUTES. LEAVE IN THE LIQUID TO COOL.

TO SERVE, REMOVE THE TORCHON FROM THE FRIDGE AT LEAST AN HOUR BEFORE SERVING.

PLACE IN A LARGE BOWL AND LIFT OUT OF THE SALT. BRUSH OFF AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. (SAVE THE SALT MIXTURE. YOU CAN USE IT AGAIN.)

SLICE OFF THE STRINGS AND UNROLL THE FOIE GRAS. IF THERE ARE ANY DARK PATCHES, SCRAPE THEM OFF WITH A SMALL KNIFE.

SLICE THE FOIE GRAS INTO 1/2 INCH PIECES. SERVE WITH CIPPOLINI.

SERVES 10

CURED FOIE GRAS
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