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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.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.