This rather innocuous looking dish was a showcase in decadence and a personal milestone for me as a Chef. The first course in tentop’s latest dinner “Supfast,” we this called Duck in a Blanket. We rolled foie gras torchon into a thin pancake and served it with a maple gastrique and crushed hazelnut brittle. This dish marked a milepost for me on a long and winding road: making foie torchon from start to finish without a Chef lording over me. And I must say, faithful readers; when all was said and done: Nailed it. I followed the recipe in The French Laundry cookbook, and I had my lovely and talented girlfriend Ingrid help me with the rolling and poaching, and then the re-rolling and hanging. The next step of the process however, I learned from Chef Eric Suniga during his brief stint as Ten-01 Sous. After the torchon was hung for a few days, I brought it up to room temperature passed it through a tamis, then piped the soft and supple liver into an acetate lined mold. This last step is truly the move in foie gras handling. Firstly, any veins that you missed in the initial cleaning of the lobe is removed, and any oxidation or discoloring from blood is mixed in; you get a nice, rosy pink color. Finally, you can mold it really into any shape, I did a variety of log shapes once I had what I needed for service of the skinnys.
The dish was super successful, we wrapped the frozen little foie sticks into a hot thin pancake; which warmed the fatty liver to a perfect temp for eating in a few seconds. The idea was to dip into the gastrique first, then into the hazelnut brittle, and then into your mouth. A great start to what proved to be an amazing meal. We did a similar menu for a brunch over the weekend, the foie in this case a key component of a dish simply called “pancakes.”
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups roasted unsalted hazelnuts, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Few drops vanilla
Put a large pot or kettle over a medium heat. Add sugar, water, and corn syrup and bring to a boil.
When mixture comes to a boil, add butter.
Cook to 260 degrees F on a candy thermometer without stirring and add the sliced hazelnuts
Bring mixture to 300 degrees F and stir in salt, baking soda and vanilla.
Pour mixture onto a greased baking sheet and spread out and allow to cool.