Foie Gras au Torchon

The torchon is a foie gras rolled up and compressed into a sausage shape 2 to 3 inches in diameter, then cooked, cooled, and cured. It is served slightly chilled, usually on toast—here, with brioche.

You will need a clean kitchen towel. Keep in mind when planning that this preparation takes 3 days.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole fresh foie gras, about pounds, nerves and ligaments removed
  • 1 tablespoon apple or pear eau-de-vie
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 quart rendered duck fat
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Calvados
  • cup hazelnut oil
  • ½ cup finely diced apple
  • 2 bunches mache or lambs’ lettuce, rinsed, spun dry
  • 1 loaf brioche, crust removed, cut into slices ½ inch thick

Method

Wet a clean kitchen towel and wring out until just damp. Put the liver in the center toward one long edge of the towel. Sprinkle the foie gras with the eau-de-vie, salt, and pepper. Roll up the towel and shape it evenly and tightly into a sausage 2 to 3 inches in diameter. Twist the ends of the towel in opposite directions and tie the ends off with string, making sure there is no slack. Refrigerate overnight.

Put the duck fat in an oval flameproof casserole or fish poacher just large enough to hold the torchon and the fat. Bring the fat to a simmer, turn down the heat to very low, and when the fat is 165°F, put the torchon (towel and all) in the casserole with the fat. Let cook for 10 minutes, turning. Remove from the heat, let cool for 15 minutes, and then refrigerate the torchon in the fat for 2 days. When ready to use, unwrap the liver. Cut into 1-inch-thick rounds.

Boil the apple cider until reduced to ¼ cup; let cool slightly. Put the vinegar, reduced cider, and Calvados in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper and whisk until the salt dissolves. Whisk in the hazelnut oil, then stir the apples into the dressing.

Toss the mache with the apple dressing. Put a round of liver on each round of brioche and serve with the dressed salad to the side.

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