Foie gras. Two short words, one long culinary history. Foie gras (fwah grah) is French for “fatty liver,” and refers to the fattened liver of a duck (or goose), considered a delicacy around the world. Made famous in France, foie gras is a traditional food known to mankind since at least Ancient Egypt.
Foie gras is a versatile ingredient, with many ways to prepare and enjoy it. The most simple method is to pan sear raw slices of foie gras. That’s the way restaurants often serve it, with a sauce containing fruit.
Choosing the Right Foie Gras
A favorite of chefs, our whole lobe of foie gras weighs 2 pounds, and may be more than a home cook needs, or is ready to manage. If you are making a classic terrine of foie gras, nothing else will do, as it requires the entire foie gras.
For the convenience of the home cook looking to sear it, we offer two slices of foie gras, each a single serving. We recommend starting with these if you are new to foie gras.
For those who know they want a freezer stocked with grade-A foie gras, ready for parties, our individually flash-frozen (and wrapped) foie gras medallions are a great option. These are ready to go from the freezer to a hot pan and are the ultimate in convenience and flexibility.
How to Sear Foie Gras
- First, prepare the sauce (see suggestions below), and keep it warm while you cook the foie gras. The foie gras will cook so quickly that the sauce must be ready.
- To Cook the Foie Gras… Lightly score the slices of foie gras on both sides, then season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sear in a very hot, dry skillet for about 30 seconds on each side. Before serving, sprinkle a pinch of coarse salt over each slice.
Sauces for Seared Foie Gras
You have a world of choices for a sauce to serve with foie gras. The most important thing to remember is that the fatty texture of foie gras is complemented with a balanced sauce containing both sweetness and acidity. Peaches, mango and pineapple all work well, but these are our favorites:
Simple Balsamic Reduction: Reduce 1/2 cup port and 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar by half, or to a syrupy consistency. Place slices of sautéed foie gras over mixed baby field greens, drizzle on port balsamic reduction, and serve.
Easy Apple Sauce: Heat 3/4 cup fresh, unsweetened applesauce (without cinnamon) with a splash of balsamic vinegar. Peel and slice 1 green apple. Sauté the slices in 1 tablespoon each butter and sugar until the sugar caramelizes. Spoon the applesauce onto a plate, add slices of sautéed foie gras, then top with apple slices.
Green Grape Sauce: Purée about 20 seedless green grapes with ½ cup sweet vermouth. Strain into a saucepan and boil until reduced to 1/2 cup. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of duck and veal demi-glace. Taste and adjust balance of acid or sweet, adding a touch of vinegar for acid, a touch of sugar for sweetness. Drizzle sauce over slices of sautéed foie gras. You may wish to slice several grapes in half and use them as a garnish for the plate.
Watch and Learn
Chef Anita Lo shows how easy it is to sear foie gras, and offers a few tips to make it foolproof. Here’s the recipe for foie gras with green papaya sauce that she demonstrates in the video. Try making foie gras at home – it’s really one of the easiest things to cook!
Top featured image: Vodka Flambéed Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Green Gage and Wild Beach Plums Almond Cream, Chrysanthemum Leaves and White Lily Petals – By Chef Eddy Leroux