Someone asked me the other day what some of my favorite foods were and the first thing that came to mind was a dish that always promises to draw out comments… Foie gras. French chef Jean-Joseph Clause is credited for creating and popularizing pâté de foie gras in 1779 in Strasbourg, however, its origins date back far before French cooking made it a delicacy. The ancient Egyptians hunted and then domesticated geese, and discovered that waterfowl developed large, fatty livers after eating large amounts in preparation for migration. To replicate this naturally occurring large liver, the Egyptians, over 4000 years ago, developed the technique now known as gavage to produce a fattier bird.
Paintings found on the tombs of aristocratic Egyptians depict the hand-feeding of geese, which served as an important source of nutrition around the Nile region.
Fast forward to today, where Foie Gras is now produced by 3 farmers in the US. In 2012 the sale of it became illegal in California, but this ban was overturned in January of 2015 by a Federal Court.
Frozen, delivered foie gras
Yeah… I know how controversial foie gras is still but I’ve always sided with the opinion that the ducks are not harmed in creating this. As mentioned earlier, it’s just a recreation of what naturally occurs when they over eat prior to migrating. Thanks to the good people at Hudson Valley Foie Gras you can order on line and have it delivered in a couple days.
To make thing even easier to prepare at home, a few years ago producers began selling small IQF (individually quick frozen) portions of liver which is what I always keep in my home freezer.
They’re great because you can defrost it at room temp and in less than an hour serve it to your foodie friends who just happen to drop by!
Preparing foie gras
I’ve served it for lots of dinner parties and special dinners at JFAT. Because foie is so rich it needs an acid of some kind to balance the richness.
Spicy it up a little bit
These sauces are called ‘gastriques’ which are simply a reduction of vinegar and sugar that can be infused with just about anything you’d like including liquor, wine, stock, shallots and almost always a fresh fruit or puree of some kind.
Perfect seared crust
They are meant to bring out the assertive flavors and saltiness of meat, and in this case liver.