Foie La La

19 04 2010

Finished and sliced Foie Gras Torchon

Foie week is here and we will Foie la la la la all week-long. To start our festivities you obviously need some high quality foie gras. (Like the duck foie gras we got from Blackstar gourmet.) When you get good quality foie gras, it can be served as is, hot or cold. I, however, often prefer to make a torchon. The word  torchon is French and refers to the linen dish towel which is used to wrap the foie gras in the final steps of preparation. I like the torchon because it takes an  incredible product and elevates it even higher standard and elegance. It also gives me a very consistent product and a way to evenly portion the foie gras. Once made, the torchon can be frozen and keeps well. It takes several days to make a torchon, but only really 2 days of work. Do not worry- we have an instructional video which will put out (hopefully at weeks’ end) to walk you through this one step at a time. Let’s get started:  

Foie Gras Torchon Preparation   

  • Day 1

Foie Gras in its native state after overnight buttermilk soak, demonstrating the 2 lobes it consists of, a larger and smaller

  • Remove Foie gras from package (I use a 1.25 to 1.5 pound pice of foie gras, Grade A )
  • Soak overnight in buttermilk

Note: Due to the modern packaging of high quality foie gras, this traditional step is not completely necessary. It was originally used to extract any remaining bits of blood, etc. from the foie gras prior to working with it. I like to do it, but it is optional.    

  • Day 2
    • Prepare the salt-sugar mixture:     
      • 2 ½ tsp Kosher salt
      • ¼ tsp sugar
      • ¼ tsp ground white pepper
    • Remove the foie from the milk, dry and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes (it is easier to work with this way)
    • Separate into 2 lobes, work each in turn
    • Working with each lobe individually, dissect out the veins and remove any bruised or blood stained areas (the blood spots will give your final product unattractive “spots”. We will show how to dissect out in the video.) It is a bit tedious but very easy. Remember, you can’t really screw up taking out the big veins as you can form the foie gras back towards original shape and we’re going to be compressing this as two big pieces anyway. When you find a big veing follow it back as far as you can digging theough the foie.  Also remove any membranes at the surfacr covering the liver as you work with it as well as any bruised areas.
    • Try to maintain as much “lobal” integrity as possible as this results in a smoother looking final product
    • Place in a container and layer the foie gras lobes  so they are about ¾ to 1 inch in thickness. They will feel and resemble two big chunks of clay. Like clay, if they do fall apart you can push them together and with gentle pressure form them back towards original shapes.
    • Top with salt-sugar mixture
    • Refrigerate overnight


The cleaned cured foie gras after being formed into a log in parchment paper

  • Day 3
    • Allow the foie gras to come to room temperature for about 45 minutes
    • While the foie gras comes up to room temperature, heat enough light chicken stock to cover the rolled foie gras to a poaching temperature (~165-180 degrees F); also prepare an ice bath.
    • Place the foie gras lobes on parchment paper on top of a bamboo rolling mat (you don’t need the mat, but I find it helpful to form the log)
    • Form a loaf around 3 ½ inches wide by 6-9 inches long
    • Use the mat to roll a loaf shape (seen in the picture above)
    • Transfer to a sheet of cheesecloth about 1 foot wide by 2 feet long
    • Roll the foie gras in the cheesecloth by rolling away from you as someone else keeps tension on the cheesecloth

    The rolled foie gras, notice you can see some of the foie gras squeezing through the cheesecloth indicating a good tight wrap.

    • Tighten and tie each end with twine (make sure you have wrapped it tight. Some foie gras squeezing through the cheesecloth is a good sign)
    • Tie off three equal sections along the roll
    • Poach the foie gras for about 90 seconds (do not go longer, you are reforming the foie gras not making stock). I use light chicken stock to poach it in


    Poaching the foie gras, it is normal to lose some volume

    • Place immediately in ice bath
    • Roll up in dishtowel (I like the traditional final wrap, that is after all how torchon got its name). Roll it the same way you did in the cheescloth; very tightly.

    Final step allowing the Foie Gras Torchon to hang overnight in the refrigerator

    • Tie off each end
    • Hang in refrigerator overnight


Slicing the Foie Gras Torchon, now ready to be enjoyed....

 Don’t worry, you can always by foie gras already in a torchon!




16 responses

19 04 2010

wow what a tricky process I really want to taste it send me a slice!!!!

19 04 2010

Not tricky at all; and you can always buy one pre-done from BlackStar as a backup!

19 04 2010

Love this series Doc! I am howling, can I have some! Back in Texas I was in charge of this process for our La Toque Dinners, and slicing- you have brought back fond memories!

19 04 2010

Did my Torchon make the pass Chef?

19 04 2010

Thanks for this well written and informative piece. I heard a rumor that you are also in Tampa Bay.

19 04 2010

Aahh, Hide the neighbors and wake the kids it’s true! Thanks for the kind words, perhaps we can all get together for some wine. I saw you moved, are you still inh Tampa?

19 04 2010
A Brief History of Foie Gras « Black Star Gourmet Blog

[…] cruel. During this week we have a special treat as Black Star Gourmet has teamed up with Chef Michael Fenster, a board certified cardiologist, to make a week of Foie Gras […]

20 04 2010
Heidi from Savory Tv

Excellent! I am finally, after many years of hatred, starting to appreciate foie gras. I need to muster up the courage to attempt this! As always, your photos are stunning, I especially love the first one!

20 04 2010

Thanks Heidi,
Always great to appreciate the tastes and textures with a little vino as well. Amazing how it can change depending on champagne or port or Sauternes. I’ll pass along the photo compliments to the photog. Try some foie at the festival if they have-those guys know how to get it done.

20 04 2010

Thanks for the detailed surgical procedures; I think I will be mine all ready to eat though!

20 04 2010

Haha! It is somewhat a labor of love I guess…

20 04 2010

great post!

20 04 2010

Thanks-your winner’s prize almost secured!

27 05 2010
27 05 2010

Thanks for showing us this process, your method is very informative. I have never hung a torchon in an actual towel but it does make sense. When it is hung in a towel do you still get the fat that drips off, and if so, do you have any uses for that fat.

27 05 2010

@robocooker:Thanks. When I cool in the ice bath then wrap in the towel, the foie cools sufficiently that you really don’t get any fat dripping off. After you pull out of the fridge after hanging overnight, I just store any unsed torchon in the cheesecloth wrap (which keeps all but a very small edge from oxidizing. Thats doesn’t affect flavor but does give it a gray appearance), it usually doesn’t last long!

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