Saturday, June 13, 2009

Foie Gras au Torchon


I prepared this foie gras au torchon for Patricia's dinner (last Monday) at the CVI. I prefer this method (and also terrines) over the ubiquitous seared foie one sees on restaurant menus across the US. In this method the foie is lightly cured and then mi-cuit, meaning barely cooked, in this case, poached.

Here's a picture of the foie gras after curing. I broke apart the lobes and soaked the foie in milk with curing salt. After an overnight bath in the milk, I drained the foie and cleaned it of blood vessels. The cleaned foie was sprinkled with kosher salt, sugar, more curing salt, and freshly ground black pepper and allspice. I rolled it into logs using parchment paper and allowed it to cure in this shape. Foie gras is graded A, B and C quality. B will work absolutely fine, if well cleaned, for au torchon. Because this was for Patricia's special dinner, I used A.

In this picture, I am rolling the cured logs in dampened cheese cloth as tightly as possible. Even allowing some of the fat to press through the cloth. Here are the logs all rolled and tied, ready to be poached. The tied foie is lowered into barely simmering stock where it will poach for just under two minutes.Into an ice bath it goes to stop the cooking process. And here is where I stopped taking pictures. The next step is to tie it (still in the cheese cloth) as tightly as possible in a kitchen towel (torchon in French, and thus, the name of the method). This last step allows one to reshape and press the foie, guaranteeing that it will hold its form. Hang it in a cooler over night and that's it!

Here is the final product, sliced and trimmed with a small circular cutter. It's on mini toasts and garnished with rhubarb and anise hyssop. YUM!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Update Teaser

overdue and coming soon
I've got a couple posts to put up (not the Boston trip yet!), but some good stuff nonetheless. Last Monday, June 8th 2009, I cooked with Bob Waggoner at the CVI, again for Patricia Mowen-Ziegler. Patricia asked me to do the hors d'oeuvres and cheese course. Details and pictures will follow. I took some pictures and will post those, but I'm hoping to get some better shots from Bob's photographer/TV co-producer Mike Kirk.

So what's this post about then? Just to say I'm still here, still having fun with food, still enjoying my job, life is good.

Life is especially good when you get to sample fine wine. So, here's the teaser part. The only two bottles I photographed at Monday night's dinner.

First up Chateau de Beaucastel--this is a double magnum of '89 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, people. Need I say more?
Second up, and star of the show in my humble opinion, an Imperial (all beautiful six liters, that's one big bottle folks) of 1982 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Easily one of the best wines I have ever tasted.