January 01, 2007

Shaved Foie Gras Salad

shaved foie gras salad

Here's a great and simple salad. At least, it's simple once you have everything assembled. It's also incredibly rich and decedent. Originally from Alice Waters. anne and I had this for two dinners over the holidays.

- mache or other nice but mild lettuce. Trader Joe's here in California sells 4 oz bags, which will make two very large salads, or 4 salads for more normal people.
- hazelnuts (optional), toasted and chopped. I think that these add a nice surprise crunch and flavor.
- basic vinaigrette, made with olive oil, white wine vinegar, mashed garlic, salt and pepper.
- foie gras torchon

To make the torchon: clean about 1/3 of a lb of whole raw foie gras. We got a 1 and a 1/3 foie from a local French importer. We were going to use the main portion of the liver for seared foie, so the "scraps" went into the torchon. After cleaning, salt the pieces, place the foie into a cheesecloth and roll into a log, about 1.5-2 inches in diameter. Squeeze the log as needed to form it up into a firm mass, and twist the ends, tying each with string. Place the log into the smallest container that will fit and surround/bury completely with kosher salt. Place into the fridge for 3-4 days. In all honesty, I'm not sure what the point of the salt is, but I guess it does allow a certain amount of air to circulate around the foie while it is curing.

About an hour prior to the meal, remove the foie from the salt and cheesecloth, wrap in plastic wrap, and place the foie into the freezer. You want to get the foie quite cold, but not frozen solid. An hour seems about enough time, after which you can transfer the foie back into the fridge.

Toss the mache with the vinaigrette and arrange flat onto a large plate (we used platter sized plated, but as I pointed out, we also used an entire package of mache for just two people). Scatter the top with the hazelnuts.

Wrap one end of the foie log in plastic wrap, and then again with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel (you need the towel both for grip and to insulate the foie from the heat of your hand). Using a vegetable peeler, begin shaving the end of the log. Move over the top of each salad plate, completely covering the surface. Because the slices are thin, this will look like quite a bit of foie. In reality, 1/3 of a lb of torchon will cover 5-6 large plates such as we used. Serve right away. Any slices of foie that hit the surface of the plate (rather than the mache) will melt just from the room temperature of the plate -- that's how thin the slices end up.

Any leftover torchon can be wrapped tightly in plastic and kept in the fridge for up to a week. It can be used again (after another hour in the freezer) for other salads, or simply sliced and eaten as one would a terrine.

Posted by dowdy at 10:00 AM