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Here is the second installment of my Mom’s birthday menu.  It was a pretty elaborate dinner and I was quite please we pulled it off considering there were so many first tries for me.  I probably should have shared this recipe first as it was the appetizer, but I couldn’t wait to share the dessert!

Simon and I have wanted to try to do foie gras for some time.  While we were in Germany, we had the good fortune to be able to go to a French restaurant with my supervisor and his wife.  It was certainly a memorable experience and I can remember each dish vividly.  It was there that we were introduced to foie gras.

I must say I hesitated to eat it at first because I’d heard so many horror stories of how the ducks and geese are treated, but peer pressure forced me to succumb and I indulged.  It was spectacular and since then we have wanted to try and do it ourselves.

While I was in Paris for a conference, I purchased two small tins of duck foie gras to bring home for our experiments.  We decided to sear the foie and serve it with a rhubarb compote.

For those of you who are still thinking of the ducks and geese, I urge you to have a look at this article.  While I may just be making myself feel better, I did find it informative and well-written.

If you do decide to give it a try, be sure to take your time making the recipe.  Foie gras is very expensive, so one wouldn’t want to let it go to waste.

Foie Gras & Rhubarb (adapted from: Emril Lagasse)

  • 3/4 1bs. of chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon and a bit of grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 finely minced shallot
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tin of foie gras (pre-chilled in the fridge)
  • chopped chives and mixed greens as garnish

In a saucepan combine all ingredients except the foie gras.  Bring to a simmer until the rhubarb is softened.  Take off the heat and let cool a little before pureeing in a blender or with an immersion blender.  Set aside and let it come to room temperature.  Note that you can make this ahead and store in the fridge, but let it come to room temperature before using.

For the foie, take the can out of the fridge and open both ends with a can opener.  Push the log out from the other end onto a cutting board.  Heat some water and prepare your sharp knife.  Heat a fry pan to medium heat (no oil – just dry).  Dip the knife in hot water.  Dry it quickly and slice off a round of foie gras that is a about a pinky finger thick.  Repeat until all slices are done.

Season the slices with salt and pepper. Drop them into the hot pan.  It will sizzle and smoke.  Allow them to brown on one side and then quickly turn them over.  Once they are brown on both sides, pull them off the heat.  On each plate, put  a few tablespoons of rhubarb and top with one or two slices of foie gras.  Garnish with chives and greens.  Serve with bread or toasts.