Duck liver cock­tail, any­one?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TASTE - > FROM PAGE 19

un­com­fort­able for the birds.

Foie gras was banned for com­mer­cial sale in Chicago be­tween 2006 and 2008, and last year the state of Cal­i­for­nia barred the pro­duc­tion and sale of foie gras. It’s il­le­gal to sell foie gras in sev­eral coun­tries, in­clud­ing Ger­many, Bri­tain, Is­rael, Italy and Turkey.

Foie gras farm­ers like Nathalie are aware of the crit­i­cism. They say their an­i­mals are grown to be eaten just like calves des­tined for veal cut­lets or cat­tle fat­tened in large feed lots. But Nathalie says her an­i­mals are al­lowed to roam freely in pas­tures to en­sure her flock re­mains healthy and are not in­jected with hor­mones and other chem­i­cals.

“Usu­ally the peo­ple who crit­i­cise don’t know any­thing about force feed­ing,” says Nathalie. “I live with my an­i­mals. It’s im­por­tant to me that they have a good life.”

Force feed­ing an­i­mals isn’t new, and it wasn’t in­vented by the French. In fact, the prac­tice dates back to at least 4,500 years ago, when an­cient Egyp­tians fat­tened geese. A tomb in Egypt fea­tures a bas re­lief scene of peo­ple forc­ing grain down the throats of geese.

Geese and ducks are sin­gled out for foie gras be­cause their liv­ers are larger than other fowl such as chick­ens and tur­keys. Be­cause geese and ducks mi­grate, they need the ex­tra fat stored in their liv­ers to help them travel long dis­tances, says Ron Kean, a Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin-Madi­son poul­try ex­pert.

Be­cause foie gras is rich-tast­ing and pricey, it’s usu­ally eaten in small quan­ti­ties, com­monly as an ap­pe­tiser, al­though it can be served as a main course. Be­cause it’s so fatty, it’s of­ten served with sweet fruits such as figs, poached ap­ples or stewed pears to bal­ance the flavour, says Adam Siegel, ex­ec­u­tive chef of Mil­wau­kee restau­rants Lake Park Bistro and Bac­chus.

“It’s one of those things where you ei­ther love it or you hate it,” says Pa­trick Mur­phy, chef de cui­sine at Wis­con­sin French restau­rant Le Reve Patis­serie & Cafe.

Le Reve uses only duck foie gras, not goose, which it gets from a Min­nesota farm, says Mur­phy, adding that it can be dif­fi­cult to cook. “It’s a very ex­pen­sive prod­uct. We ob­vi­ously don’t want to waste it. We try for 100% yield,” says Mur­phy, who has worked at Le Reve five years. “If you put it in a pan and just crank it, it’s a lot like but­ter. It’ll just melt away. You need fi­nesse.”

Lake Park Bistro serves a sautéed foie gras with prunes, port wine and brioche toast, as well as pot­ted foie gras, which is cured, rolled in cheese­cloth, poached in stock and then passed through a fine-mesh sieve be­fore be­ing placed in a small glass jar topped with ren­dered foie gras fat and chilled. It’s usu­ally served with pre­serves and toast.

The menu at Bac­chus fea­tures a seared piece of foie gras served with a honey crisp ap­ple com­pote, brioche French toast, a sunny side up quail egg, ba­con and Bour­bon maple syrup as a sauce; the dish in­for­mally is known as the Break­fast of Cham­pi­ons.

Bac­chus and Lake Park Bistro use only duck foie gras from a New York farm.

“If you’re sear­ing it, you need to make sure that you have a nice hot pan so that you gain a de­cent amount of colour and so you can en­sure that you don’t over­cook it,” says Siegel, who won the James Beard Award for Best Chef-Mid­west in 2008 for his menu at Lake Park Bistro. “I like to sear pieces that are at least 1-inch thick so that I can cook to about medium rare, and so it is still a bit firm.”

Ja­son Van Auken at the Amer­i­can Club Re­sort in Kohler has come up with a unique way to use foie gras — in a cock­tail of maple whiskey in­fused with duck liver. With a large clien­tele from the Chicago area, Van Auken no­ticed quite a few cus­tomers or­dered foie gras or asked about the del­i­cacy.

Even though the foie gras ban has been lifted, “there are still a lot of places in Chicago that shy away from it,” says Van Auken, wine di­rec­tor and mixol­o­gist for Im­mi­grant Restau­rant. “We knew if we put a cock­tail to­gether it wouldn’t be a big seller, but it would cer­tainly pique in­ter­est.”

Van Auken spent two years, off and on, per­fect­ing the recipe, which he un­veiled at the Kohler Food and Wine Ex­pe­ri­ence re­cently.

He starts by pan-sear­ing foie gras and in­fus­ing the liver and some of the ren­dered fat with a Cana­dian maple whiskey for 24 to 48 hours. The liq­uid is strained through cheese­cloth un­til clear. The cock­tail con­sists of 1½ ounces of whiskey/ foie gras in­fu­sion, half an ounce of Creme de Mure black­berry liquor and five dashes of wal­nut bit­ters.

“We al­most treat it like a port be­cause it’s con­cen­trated and in­tense,” says Van Auken. “This is a very dessert style cock­tail. If you’ve got a foie gras dish with black­berry or other berries, that does won­ders for it as well.” – Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sen­tinel/McClatchy-Tri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices

cans of duck con­fit are stacked in pyra­mids at one of the open air stalls dur­ing a Satur­day mar­ket day in France where foie gras is a busi­ness worth bil­lions of dol­lars. — mct

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.