Preparing Foie Gras for Cooking

No matter how a raw foie gras is to be prepared, it should first be rinsed in cold water and examined closely for green spots.These are caused by bile; they must be cut or scraped away because the bile has a strong,bitter taste. Also, if there are any bits of external fat, remove them.

Next, the liver should be soaked. (This step is not required, but it does improve the product.) Place it in lightly salted ice-cold water or milk to cover. Let stand for up to 2 hours, no longer. Remove from the salted liquid and rinse in fresh, cold water.

For cold preparations such as terrines and mousses, the liver should first be de-veined.To devein the foie gras, first let it come to room temperature. Its fat content makes a cold liver too brittle to devein without excessive breakage, which would result in more cooking loss.When the liver is at room temperature, even the heat of the hands melts the fat, so it is important to handle the liver lightly and to work quickly.

Begin by separating the two lobes and laying them, smooth side down, on a clean work surface. Carefully trim off any bloody spots. Grasping a lobe with your thumbs at the sides and fingers underneath in the center, very lightly bend the lobe lengthwise. The top, rough surface should open up slightly, revealing a heavy vein that runs lengthwise through the liver. (If it does not open up, help it along with a shallow incision with the point of a paring knife.) Carefully pull out this vein, along with any other heavy veins that are attached, all the while being careful to keep the liver as intact as possible. Repeat with the other lobe.The foie gras is now ready to be made into a terrine.

No matter how a foie gras is cooked, it is essential to avoid even the slightest over-cooking.The liver is delicate, and the fat cooks out very quickly. Even a few seconds too long in a sauté pan can reduce a slice of foie gras to a few specks of connective tissue floating in a puddle of very expensive grease.

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