After a series of fortunate events exactly one year ago today, my wife came home with several pounds of Canada’s finest exports – products like maple syrup, duck meat, maple syrup, foie gras, and maple syrup-related products. Foie gras is a word unknown to most people who have never watched Iron Chef, and for good reason, since this is quite a bizarre food. Foie gras (pronounced fwah-graaaah to those who cannot decipher the insane combination of letters that constitutes the French language) is one of the foods that people protest, because it is nothing more than the fatty livers of geese who are force-fed grain. As livers bloat up, their value also bloats to an inflated 50USD per pound, so when I found out that our freezer full of foie gras and duck meat had melted due to our shitty refrigerator failing for a second time, I freaked out. I don’t mind losing my own liver, but the hundred dollars of liver in our freezer spoiling was something that I couldn’t live with, so I set out to use as much of it as humanly possible. It turns out that a foie gras sandwich just happens to be teetering on the threshold of possibility.
I have learned several things when it comes to cooking foie gras;
- No fan is powerful enough to remove the smell from your kitchen. It’s more potent than Axe Body spray
- Over half of its mass is fat or oil. I don’t know which, but I do know it is a liquid
- You have a 1 minute window between “undercooked” and “taste is ruined due to overcooking”
My approach to the situation was to cook the foie gras uncovered on low heat for about 5 minutes on each side. After doing so, I checked online to make sure that my approach was a good one and promptly found out that I should be pan-searing this at a high heat. Well fuck my ass, I just botched the first step. I did my best to get my phone’s camera out of “looks like trash” mode and into “this is barely appealing mode”, and ended up cooking the liver far too long.
From cooking at a low heat, I transferred to a pan and baked it just a little bit to help firm it up. Despite being the liver of one of the hardest animals on the planet – the goose – foie gras is amazingly fluffy, and I wanted something that would work well in a sandwich. So, into the oven it went.
The oven didn’t help to improve the appearance. In fact, each step of this ridiculous cooking process made the foie gras even more unappealing. From white slices to gray bits of gelatinous bits of a sci-fi creature, to weeping piles of browned-grayness, it took a lot of effort to reassure myself that no matter how bad it looks, it still has a uniquely deep taste that is not readily comparable to any other type of food available (even liver).
I toasted the bread and began to wonder exactly what I needed to create a foie gras sandwich and not look like a complete douche. This stuff is expensive, and to mask the flavor with another ingredient would be more wasteful than making a 15 dollar sandwich that doesn’t especially taste very good.
Foie gras is mostly oil, and mayonnaise is mostly oil, so I skipped on the mayonnaise. I got out some lettuce for the crunch to compliment the consistency of the foie gras, and decided to throw some onions on there as well. The situation was already pretty juicy, so I didn’t need to add any tomatoes to work as a “slurp factor”
The end result was something that I regret, but understand was a necessity. Given this silly perfect storm of refrigerator breaking, pounds of extremely expensive…stuff…needing to get cooked and ingested, this all had to happen. So, if there is any takeaway from this stupidity, it is that if you find yourself needing to cook up a bunch of foie gras, get your friends to your house and eat it on toast and pair it with wine like a normal rich person.