Don’t let barbecue season lure you away from more gourmet food. There’s no need to wait until the next holiday season to eat foie gras! Washed down with some chilled dessert wine, it makes a lovely snack on a warm afternoon.
Hungary is the world’s second-largest producer of foie gras (Bulgaria is the third-largest). While their production is mostly from goose liver, in the United States duck liver is the norm, and about 99% of it is produced in the Hudson Valley. I usually get mine from D’Artagnan. Make sure you buy fresh, grade A, whole foie gras. Frozen foie gras will result in a soggy texture — as if your terrine had been pre-chewed — and is a complete waste of your time and money.
I used to make this recipe in a terrine mold, which I cooked in a dish filled with water in the oven. Then I realized that I got a better result (for slightly less effort) by using plastic wrap, a sous-vide pouch, and a water bath. So it’s technically no longer an actual terrine; it’s closer to a foie gras au torchon, only a bit less neat-looking. If this really bothers you, you can go back to using a good old terrine mold, with the same ingredients.
The prepared foie gras can be kept for about 1 week. Serve with quince preserves, toasted brioche-style Pullman bread, and dessert wine. Or serve with toasted bread and a salad, as is often done in Hungarian restaurants.
Duck foie gras terrine
Yields about 6 servings
1 whole grade A foie gras, about 800 g
16 g salt
4 g sugar
0.5 g sweet paprika
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch garam masala
20 g sweet Tokaji wine (or other white dessert wine)
5 g apricot brandy
- Soak the foie gras in hot water for 30 minutes.
- Drain and pat dry. Separate the 2 lobes of the foie gras. In each lobe, make a 1 cm deep incision lengthwise using a knife. Pull out the veins with the knife (or use your fingers). You should find a few veins running lengthwise. Remove the smaller veins as well, but don’t overdo it — you don’t want to turn the top-quality whole foie gras into some cheap trimmings. Your lobes should each still be in one piece once you’re done.
- In a bowl, mix the salt, sugar, sweet paprika, nutmeg, garam masala, Tokaji wine, and apricot brandy. Coat both sides of the lobes with the mixture, and put back together to form a vague cylinder. Wrap very tightly in several layers of plastic film to better shape the cylinder, then refrigerate for 12 hours.
- Place the foie gras log into a sous-vide pouch, and vacuum seal. Cook in a 54.5 C / 130 F water bath for 1 hour, then let cool and refrigerate for at least 2 days.
- To serve, remove from the fridge 30 minutes in advance. Take the foie gras out of the pouch, peel off the plastic wrap, and slice with a hot knife.