Melt-in-the-mouth foie gras au sel

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I love foie gras. But not just any foie gras. The best foie gras I had ever eaten until recently was at Jean Michel’s parents’ place about 15 years ago. It must have been an important birthday because there were caterers. It just melted in your mouth. I have never forgotten it!

Our melt-in-the-mouth foie gras au sel at New Year

Our melt-in-the-mouth foie gras au sel at New Year

We have been making our own foie gras for some years now and I described how to make it in a previous post which you should also consult if you don’t know how to devein foie gras. Last summer, I went with my Australian friend Kathy Stanford from Femmes Francophiles to Le Mesturet because she wanted foie gras. As luck would have it, they were serving three different types that day, including foie gras au sel which is marinated in salt but not cooked in the oven. It, too, just melted in the mouth, one of the reasons being that not cooking it keeps all the fat inside.

Step 1: Soak foie gras in 1/2 litre of milk with enough water to cover.

Step 1: Soak foie gras in 1/2 litre of milk with enough water to cover.

So I decided that next time we made foie gras for Christmas, we’d try foie gras au sel. When we went to La Maison d’à côté in Montlivaut near Blois at the beginning of December, the chef, monsieur Laurenty, offered to provide us with fresh foie gras from his special supplier in the south-west of France where they sing to the ducks while force-feeding them.

Step 2. Separate the foie gras into its two lobes.

Step 2. Separate the foie gras into two lobes.

As a result, the quality of our foie gras was irreproachable. Foie gras au sel turned out to be very very easy to make, much easier than part-cooking it in a bain-marie in the oven. It’s often quite difficult to get the cooking time right.

Step 3. Devein the foie gras (see other post). Even if it falls apart, it doesn't matter. You can put it back together again later.

Step 3. Devein the foie gras (see My Foie Gras post). Even if it falls apart, it doesn’t matter. You can put it back together again later.

We used the same recipe as we usually do except that we replaced the white port wine we usually use with pineau des Charentes. The result was excellent.

Step 3. Put a layer of cling-film in the terrine then line the bottom with foie gras. Sprinkle over the spice mixture. Sprinkle with port wine. Add the bits and pieces of foie gras and more spices and wine. Then cover with the remaining foie gras. Sprinkle over the rest of the spices and wine. Wrap tightly make a block.

Step 4. Put a layer of cling-film in the terrine then line the bottom with foie gras. Sprinkle over the spice mixture. Sprinkle with port wine. Add any odd bits and pieces of foie gras and more spices and wine. Then cover with the remaining foie gras. Sprinkle over the rest of the spices and wine. Wrap tightly to make a compact block.

Instead of cooking the foie gras, you wrap it in gauze pads, place it in a box (we used a wooden wine box) and cover it with coarse salt. You store it in a naturally cool place (our tower room is about 10°C) for 17 hours, remove the gauze, press into a terrine, cover and keep in the fridge for about 10 days before eating.

Step 4. Take off the cling film and wrap in two layers of gauze. Place a layer of coarse salt in the bottom of a box. Add the foie gras then cover with more salt. Store in a cool room for 17 hours.

Step 5. Take off the cling film and wrap the foie gras in two layers of gauze. Place a layer of coarse salt in the bottom of a box. Add the foie gras then cover with more salt. Store in a cool room for 17 hours.

The result is OUT OF THIS WORLD. And, unlike last year, we were able to welcome in the New Year in front of our renovated Renaissance fireplace with champagne and melt-in-the-mouth foie gras.

Step 6. Place the foie gras in the terrine, press well and refrigerate for 8 to 10 days before eating.

Step 6. Place the foie gras in the terrine, press well and refrigerate for 8 to 10 days before eating.

Recipe
One 500 g lobe of foie gras 
7 g salt
1/2 g of freshly ground pepper
1/2 g of five spices
3 centiliters of white port wine
3 kilos of coarse salt.
A salt-proof box.
Time in salt: 17 hours.
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14 Responses to Melt-in-the-mouth foie gras au sel

  1. Femme Francophile says:

    The foie gras at Le Mesturet was not only out of this world but it was wonderful sharing this time with you. I would have never discovered this restaurant without you.

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      It was fun! We went back with friends recently but they didn’t have any foie gras au sel. They posted their recipe on FB but it was more complicated than mine.

  2. Dianne says:

    It looks magical in the crepuscule light Rosemary. Beautifully photographed.

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Hi Dianne, when I read your comment, I was a bit worried I’d messed up the photos! I was relieved to see that it was a mistake. LOL.

  3. Dianne says:

    Oops! I meant the comment to be for your pic taken near Palais Royale. But the foie-gras looks delicious.

  4. Susan Walter says:

    I’m really tempted to try this. I’ve made my own bacon before so I have a suitable container. I just can’t decide whether to do Didier’s workshop in Loches first or just go ahead and try it.

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      If you’ve never deveined foie gras, the workshop might be useful. It’s a bit like mayonnaise – once you’ve seen someone do it, it’s easy. Next time we make foie gras, I’m going to shoot a video of the deveining. If you can get one by Saturday, we’ll be happy to demonstrate.

  5. Anda G. says:

    Ah, Rosemary, your post makes my mouth water … I order foie gras every time I have a chance.

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  7. Tim says:

    Rosemary, I just came to this post via Susan’s post of this morning…
    about your “foie gras” workshop you gave…
    how can you be so cruel….
    ……………..
    ……………
    ………….
    …………
    ……….
    ……..
    ……
    ….
    as to make a poor man feel….
    the need to eat something savoury before the magical hour of twelve!!

    Both articles are marvelous and informative and….
    make me feel inclined to ‘avago’ myself…
    seeing as Maison Perrin is but a mile from here…
    by winding road…
    it is just over the hill we look at on the northside….
    and we haven’t bought any foie gras this year.
    We bought a small pot from the supermarché last year and I think it was ‘extended’ using grease!!
    Maison Perrin do a wonderful, wonderful mouse of foie gras and the ‘triple’ cream from the La Borde creamery that is about 500 metres from us….
    it is so delish that we daren’t have it in the house….
    we do, however, go and buy a small pot of it if we have a pre-arranged meal set up!!
    I’ll now go and take your class in de-veining!!
    Have a wonderful Festive season…
    Tim
    Tim recently posted…Energy weaponsMy Profile

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      I haven’t read Susan’s post yet. I’m going over to Days on the Claise immediately! Do let me know how your deveining goes.

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