A few years ago I wrote a piece called The Physiology of Foie: Why Foie Gras is Not Unethical which made its way around the internet and social media circles at the time. It's gotten tons of comments, most of them well-balanced, thoughtful, and conducive to open constructive debate. Some have been knee-jerk (from both sides), and some have been downright frightening (it's the only article I've ever written that has prompted actual death threats via email). News of the recent repeal of the California ban on its import and production has sparked up the debate again, so I thought it was a good time to address some of the arguments that have been brought up that I feel I haven't adequately addressed. Here they are.
'foie gras' on Serious Eats
There's no doubt that Beef Wellington is delicious. How can it not be? The exterior is a light, crisp, buttery crust, glazed a deep, shiny golden brown, twinkling with crystals of sea salt. You slice through it to reveal layers of the finest ingredients in the Western world: slivers of prosciutto, a duxelles of wild mushrooms bound with cream, and foie gras, all encasing a core of medium-rare, buttery-soft beef tenderloin. And for all that, it's actually a surprisingly simple roast to do right. Check out our recap, and prepare your guests to be dazzled.
Everyone has an opinion about foie gras. Whether you think it is animal cruelty or the most delicious ingredient on the planet, this film will challenge your perspective. Eduardo de Sousa's family has been raising Geese for foie gras for over 200 years, and they do it without force feeding, by following the birds' natural cycle. It's pretty incredible (and delicious). Watch our latest video from Spain to learn more.
You shouldn't panic because foie gras is one of the easiest proteins to cook in the world. Far simpler than a steak or a chicken breast. Infinitely more forgiving than a pork chop or a piece of delicate fish. It's nearly foolproof by nature. Here's how to do it.
Seared foie gras lacquered with a sweet-hot fig mostarda and fresh figs.
Seared foie gras with a creamy spiced orange puree and candied orange zest.
The prime rib might be the King of the holiday table, but if I had to nominate one roast for the triple threat of Dictator-For-Life, President, and First Tiger, it'd be the Beef Wellington. Complex, beefy, buttery, oozing with juices, and packed with flavor, it's hard to get more decadent than this, my friends.
The ultimate in luxurious roasts, Beef Wellington combines beef tenderloin, a rich mushroom duxelles, foie gras, and prosciutto, all wrapped in a buttery puff pastry crust.
A perfect foie torchon melts on the tongue like the creamiest butter, but with a distinct cured sweetness that forms the perfect balance for a perfumed wine. It's simple to serve—just slice it, put it on a piece of toast, add a bit of dried fruit or preserves, and go—and let's face it, it'll impress your guests. It's the ultimate in hors d'oeuvres, using not just one of the finest ingredients money can buy, but also showcasing your kitchen skills.
One of the pinnacles of Western food, a torchon of foie takes several days to make and requires expensive ingredients, but the time and cost are worth it in the end.
I want to eat the butter on its own, but fight temptation and spread some on my toast, then drag a biteful through the cherry preserves. The toast has that familiar crusty exterior that yields to a creamy interior. What makes the Torrija Andaluza so special, though, is the combination of savory and sweet from the foie and the preserves.
Could this be one of the most clever interpretations of foie gras around? They start with housemade foie gras sausages made with a mixture of chicken breast, foie gras, and pork fat back, added to a lamb casing. The sausages get dunked in a corn dog batter (made with white cornmeal, flour, baking powder, soda and buttermilk) and deep-fried. The finished dogs with a cornichon relish, housemade cognac mustard, and espelette pepper.
The J, of course, stands for jam, a dark forest berry concoction that is thick and sweet, with the tiny seeds still mixed in for texture and depth. The FG, then, is foie gras, which comes as a soft, slightly salty mousse riding shotgun with the jam.
In Montréal, you don't find foie gras—it finds you. Order a stuffed pig's trotter and you'll find it inside. French fries might very well have it on top. French toast and foie gras? Sure why not. Check out these five foie-centric dishes, including a take on the Double Down at Joe Beef and poutine from Au Pied du Cochon.
After leaving the Japanese market in 2009, Wendy's reopened in Japan yesterday with its first location in Omotesando, an upscale shopping district in Tokyo, and has plans to eventually open 700 locations in Japan, reports Businessweek. With the grand opening comes a new line of Japan Premium items, most prominently a foie gras-topped burger called the Foie Gras Rossini for ¥1280 (about $16.50).
McDonald's condiment options don't include foie gras mayo (big shocker) but at Tapaç24, the small plates hotspot in Barcelona, they pay homage to the fast-food chain in the form of this little burger. The beef patty comes medium-rare, almost tartare-rare in the very center, on a thin, crisp bun. Nothing else on the burger, just that little black dish of creamy foie on the side waiting to be spooned up. As my Kindergarten teacher Ms. Wookey said, a little dab will do ya (in that context she was referring to Elmer's glue).
Last weekend, fast food chain Quick in France offered foie gras-topped burgers for a limited time. Did it measure up to its advertised beauty shot? Let's take a look.
Video or photographic footage of one badly managed farm or even a thousand badly managed farms does not prove that the production of foie gras, as a practice, is necessarily harmful to the health or mental well-being of a duck. Foie gras production should be judged not by the worst farms, but by the best, because those are the ones that I'm going to choose to buy my foie from if at all.
Enter, foie gras butter. It's exactly what it sounds like: a mixture of foie and butter, subtly spiced with salt, pepper, and whatever else you decide to use as flavoring. It is, obviously, fattier than foie because you manipulate the substance and jack it up with more fat.
Adapted from Fat by Jennifer McLagan...