Cooking is about memories. My culinary path began in Chalosse, on the farm in southwestern France where I was born and grew up. Of these first years I particularly remember the aromas and flavors, intense memories that will always remain with me. When it came to deciding what we were going to eat, we would gather perfectly ripe vegetables in our kitchen garden. We had a strong, direct relationship with the cycles of nature. This foie gras is a tribute to my Landais roots.
Combine the table salt, white pepper, and sugar. Season the foie gras evenly with this mixture.
Sprinkle with Cognac. Cover the dish containing the foie gras in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the foie gras from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking to bring it to room temperature.
Don’t skimp on your choice of raw duck foie gras: It should be firm to the touch and without red spots.
Place the foie gras on a rack. Cover with plastic wrap and cool for about 2 hours. Set the duck fat aside* at room temperature.
In the absence of Cognac, you can use port, or Madeira wine, or Armagnac.
Place the cooled foie gras on plastic wrap. Wrap and tighten lightly to give the foie gras an attractive shape. Prick the plastic wrap with a needle to remove any air bubbles. Put the wrapped foie gras into a terrine.
Cover it with the cooled duck fat and store the terrine in the refrigerator for at least 20 days.
Duck fat can be purchased separately, ready for use. Above all, do not throw away the cold fat from the foie gras! It is perfect for sautéing potatoes, mushrooms, or steaks.
Unmold the foie gras. Place the terrine in a basin of hot water to the three-quarter mark, then slide a warm knife blade around the inside walls of the terrine to loosen the hardened fat. Carefully ease the cold fat away using the knife, being careful not to damage the foie gras.
Warm the knife blade in hot water and cut the foie gras into slices ¾-inch (1.5-cm) thick. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and coarsely ground black pepper. Serve with toasted country-style bread and fig halves.
With this method of preparation, you do not have to devein the foie gras. The 20 days of refrigerated conservation in the duck fat will “dissolve” the veins.
A sweet white wine from the southwest, a Jurançon, for example. A red Graves from the Bordeaux region.
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