The Foie Gras Queen

C’est moi! I crowned myself with that appellation and freely admit to being a foie gras addict. If it’s on the menu, I’m having it!

I first discovered foie gras’ existence during one of our trips to France in the mid-1980’s. We were staying at Le Prieuré, a Relais & Chateaux property in Villeneuve-les-Avignon and dined in its restaurant. Scanning the appetizer section of the menu, in French, called “entrées” (which means “entrances,” so why American menus call main courses “entrées” is a mystery to me), I noticed “Foie gras poêlé.” Aha! I thought. Liver. I’ve always liked liver, so I ordered it. When the dish was placed before me, it looked nothing like any liver I’d ever had before. Tasted nothing like it either. One small bite and I swooned. I was hooked!

To this day, seared remains my first choice preparation. But I also love it roasted or poached. As for terrines and torchons, one would think that I would have gobbled them up immediately since I grew up adoring their Jewish cousin, chopped liver. Oddly, however, that wasn’t the case. It actually took me a few years to learn to enjoy them. Eventually, they did grow on me like – well, like chopped liver, and I’ve had many a terrine and torchon which have wowed me.

During 2011, I had foie gras 29 times. In a few instances, it was one ingredient among others on a plate. Otherwise, in its various versions and with a wide range of accompaniments, it was the star.

It should come as no surprise that since we dine at Eleven Madison Park more than at any other restaurant, I had foie gras many times there and more than anywhere else. It’s interesting to note that until this past year, Chef Humm served only terrines or torchons. But that changed in mid-2011. Now, whenever “Foie Gras” appears on the menu grid, guests are offered the option of having the “chef’s version” or a seared version. And seared foie gras has even shown up as an accompaniment on a main course plate.

The first foie gras at EMP was in January at M’s birthday lunch. Executive Sous Chef Abram Bissel surprised us by creating a seared foie gras dish especially for us: Foie Gras Seared with Kumquats and Baby Turnip.

Foie Gras

In February, at the lunch we shared with uhockey: Foie Gras Torchon with Corn and Quince.

Foie Gras

In April: Foie Gras Terrine with Pineapple and Pickled Pearl Onions.

1st Course:  Foie Gras

In June, at our anniversary dinner: Quail Ballotine with Foie Gras, Fava Beans and Radish.

2nd Course:  Quail

At the Beer Dinner at the end of June: Foie Gras Terrine with Strawberry, Yuzu, and Back Pepper.

Foie Gras

In September, I ordered the seared version while M ordered the chef’s version, and we shared: Foie Gras Seared with Cherries, Leeks, and Pistachios

Foie Gras

and Foie Gras Terrine with Plum, Bitter Almond, Umeboshi.

Foie Gras

In October at my birthday lunch, M repeated the version he had in September while I ordered a new seared composition: Foie Gras Seared with Apples and Oat Streusel .

Foie Gras

In addition, there was foie gras with the main course guinea fowl: Guinies Fowl with Plum, Butternut Squash, Amoretti, and Foie Gras.

Guinea Fowl

At the EMP book launch party in November, there was a foie gras hors d’oeuvre.

Hors d'Oeuvres:  Foie Gras

At our last EMP meal of 2011, lunch at the end of December: Foie Gras Smoked Terrine with Black Truffles, Potato and Rye.

Foie Gras

Beneath the fold, the other places where I had foie gras.


In chronological order…

Nuela: Arroz con Pato (For Two)

Ai Fiori: Torchon Foie Gras au Nature, Spiced Figs, Ormeasco Mostarda, Pistachios, Brioche Toast

Torchon Foie Gras

Ai Fiora: Piccione: Roasted Breast of Squab, Liquid Foie Gras Croquette, Parsnip Purée, Sauce Madere

Roberta’s: Seared Foie Gras, Black Pepper, Black Garlic

Bar Room at The Modern: Foie Gras Terrine Studded with Salsify, Maple Gelée and Pain d’Epices

elements: Foie Cookie, Page Mandarin Marmalade, Macadamia, Parmesan

Casa Mono: Foie Gras with Cinco Cebollas

Foie Gras with Cinco Cebollas

The Modern Dining Room:
Wagyu Beef & Foie Gras “Damier,” Passion Fruit Gastrique
Grilled Sullivan County Foie Gras, Macerated Cucumber and Cumin
Squab & Foie Gras Croustillant, Caramelized Ginger Jus and Farm Vegetables (For Two)

Adour: Sautéed Duck Foie Gras, Young Tender Turnips, Dolce Forte

The Peacock Inn: Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Rhubarb & Strawberry Compote, Shortbread Biscuit, White Balsamic Verjus

Tocqueville: (We were served two different versions as part of a tasting menu. We shared them.)
House Cured Terrine of Foie Gras, Roasted Pear, Quince & Brioche Toast
House Cured Terrine of Foie Gras, Roasted Black Mission Fig, Rhubarb & Riesling Gelée

La Silhouette: Foie Gras “A la Plancha,” Caramelized Pears, Toasted Hazelnuts, Spaghetti Squash Confit

Foie Gras "A la Plancha"

Jung Sik Dang: Foie Gras Mousse with Black Raspberry

Corton: Foie Gras Torchon

1st Course:  Chestnut

Tocqueville: Seared Diver Scallops & Foie Gras, Wild Mushrooms, Braised Artichokes & Cider Vinegar Gastrique

Um Segredo Wild Game Dinner: Wild Striped Bass, Salsify, Foie Gras Ravioli

Did any of these make my Best Dishes of 2011? Stay tuned!

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9 Responses to “The Foie Gras Queen”

  1. ellenost Says:

    Loved this post! All of your photos are wonderful!

  2. thewizardofroz Says:

    Hi Ellen, Thanks for the compliment! Glad to hear that you enjoyed this post. Of course, I know that you, like me, adore foie gras. 🙂

  3. nmprisons Says:

    Thank you for the picture of “Foie Gras Terrine with Plum, Bitter Almond, Umeboshi.” That, and a preparation we had at Per Se, were the two best foie preparation of my 2011. I appreciated, as always, reliving it through your wonderful photography.

    May we both enjoy many satisfying dishes in 2012!

  4. thewizardofroz Says:

    Hi, nmp! Thanks for the compliment about my photos. Glad I was able to help you visualize again that foie gras terrine you found so captivating.

    My best wishes for a wonderful year! I know it will be a special one for you and J. 🙂

  5. Annie Says:

    Hi Roz! It was nice to meet you yesterday at Um Segredo!!!

    You’re definitely the foie gras queen! The Foie Gras Terrine with Strawberry, Yuzu, and Back Pepper looks especially amazing…

  6. thewizardofroz Says:

    Hi, Annie! Thanks for stopping by here!

    We enjoyed getting to know you and Andrew and hope we’ll see you both again at a future Um Segredo dinner.

  7. uhockey Says:

    …..I think I have a problem. Your post forced me to go back into my blog and count. I had foie gras in 48 different restaurants in 2011 (thrice with you and Michael) and in many of those places more than one course of it. There was foie for every meal of the day (save for breakfast, but counting brunch on a day when there were two other meals afterwards) and often times more than once in a day.

    I think we may need an intervention Roz. Foie Anonymous, perhaps? 🙂

  8. thewizardofroz Says:

    Hi, uhockey!

    LOL LOL LOL I have read that foie gras contains the “good” fat that raises the HDL. It’s obviously working for me since my last reading was 92! 🙂 So, I won’t be joining Foie Gras Anonymous anytiime soon!

  9. uhockey Says:

    92? That is just some good genetics right there, though you are correct in your comment about Foie Gras fat content – it is more than 3/4 mono and poly-unsaturated fats (the good sort) and only ~1/5 saturated fats.

    While it sure isn’t health food it is a lot better than most other meats in terms of its fat compositon!

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