Pan-Seared Foie Gras With Fig Mostarda and Fresh Figs

The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

Pan-Seared Foie Gras With Fig Mostarda and Fresh Figs

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Note: Fresh foie gras can be ordered online. I prefer the grade "A" lobes from Bella Bella Gourmet, who sells foie produced by La Belle Farms, a small-scale poultry farm in Ferndale, New York. You can order the foie gras here. A lobe of foie gras weighs about 1 1/2 pounds and is enough for at least 10 to 12 servings. For a step-by-step slideshow on how to slice whole foie gras, see the post here.

Uneaten foie gras can be stored in a vacuum-sealed bag and frozen for several months. Excess sauce can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Serve extra sauce with charcuterie, cheese, or roast duck or pork.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time: 15 minutes
  • Total time:1 hour


  • For the Fig Mostarda
  • 6 dried figs, split into quarters
  • 1 cup cognac
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot mustard powder
  • pinch salt
  • For the Foie Gras:
  • 4 slabs fresh grade "A" foie gras, each 1/2-inch thick, lightly scored in a hashmark pattern on one side (6 to 8 ounces total, see note above)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced chives
  • Coarse sea salt such as Maldon or fleur de sel
  • 4 fresh figs


  1. 1.

    Make the Fig Mostarda: Combine dried figs, cognac, sugar, whole grain mustard, and mustard powder in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a bare simmer and cook until reduced and syrupy, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until cool. Season with a pinch of salt.

  2. 2.

    For the Foie Gras: Lay a double layer of paper towels on top of a plate or cutting board and set aside. Season foie gras liberally on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a small skillet over high heat for at least 3 minutes. Place foie gras in skillet scored-side-down. It should immediately start smoking, sizzling, and rendering fat. If it doesn't, remove and allow the pan to preheat for another 1 to 2 minutes. Once all four pieces of foie are in skillet, cook, swirling pan gently every few seconds, until deeply browned and crisp on first side, about 30 seconds. Use a thin metal spatula to flip foie gras onto second side and cook for 30 second longer. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate and let rest for 1 minute.

  3. 3.

    Use a small spoon to glaze each piece of foie gras with syrup from fig mostarda. Spoon some of the fig mostarda onto four individual serving plates and place 1 slice of foie gras on each. Top with chives, coarse sea salt, and fresh fig slices. Serve immediately with lightly dressed greens.