Master French chef Alain Ducasse has a new cookbook out, filled with the techniques he uses at his world-famous restaurants to make his signature dishes. This foie gras butter recipe requires a little specialized instruction but is well worth the effort. If you think foie gras has enough fat without the butter, you’re missing the point of this luxurious, silky spread entirely. Grab a piece of toasted baguette and prepare to savor the treat of a lifetime.
Tips from our chefs: The perfect thickener. Foie gras is expensive, so you can make use of the parts surrounding the veins of the raw liver you have deveined to make foie gras butter. Foie gras butter can also be used to thicken a jus or gravy.
Deveining raw foie gras: The term used here is deveining, and not nerve removal, because the veins that carry blood to the liver have to be removed. For this somewhat delicate process, the foie gras should be at room temperature; take it out of the refrigerator about 90 minutes beforehand. Wear gloves, and spread a large sheet of parchment (baking) paper over the work surface. This is more hygienic and convenient for cooking. The paper will also let you collect the seasoning and any of the foie gras that falls off. It should take about 15 minutes to devein a foie gras.
- Veins of 1 deveined foie gras
- Butter equivalent in weight to the veins, softened
- fine salt
- freshly ground white pepper
- 1 dash cognac
- fleur de sel
- Coarsely ground pepper
- 1 ficelle loaf (thin baguette), sliced and toasted
For the deveining of the foie gras
Press on the top of the liver with a fingertip to check that it is soft enough. It should spring back by itself. Separate the two lobes by hand, pulling them apart gently.
They are held together by a vein. Cut the vein with a paring knife.
Use the back of a spoon to open out the smaller lobe on its skin (rounded) side.
Using only the back of the spoon, gently scrape the inside of the liver to expose two main veins.
Lift up the first vein, using the back of the spoon to help.
Pass the back of the spoon under it. Slide it gradually along the vein, being careful not to break it.
Once the vein has become detached, pull it up gently to remove. Scrape the liver again to expose the second vein. Repeat the process.
Spread out that part that has been scraped to remove the small ends of the vein that may have been overlooked, then mold the lobe into its original shape.
To devein the larger lobe, first remove the ball of fat located underneath. Proceed to devein in the same way as you did the smaller lobe, starting with the vein coming out of the liver.
For the butter
Push the veins through a strainer (sieve). Use a silicone spatula (scraper) to collect the foie gras and transfer it to a plate.
Cut the softened butter into small cubes and add it to the foie gras. Season with a little fine salt and white pepper, then add the cognac. Mix gently with the spatula.
Spread out a sheet of plastic wrap (cling film) on the work surface and place the foie gras mixture in the middle.
Roll into a cylinder inside the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to harden.
Slice. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and coarsely ground pepper and serve with toasted ficelle slices.