The Deans absolutely love collaborating, so when Charleston Interior Stylist Nathalie Naylor, offered to take a day and teach us everything she knew about foie gras, well, we just jumped at the chance. She arrived with three shiny lobes and immediately we set to work. The first step of the process was to remove the veins and gristle from the smooth pieces of liver. This proved a bit more difficult than it sounded, but we pressed on, and know we will do better next time!
Now we all wondered to do with some pieces that seemed especially soft and slippery. In the end, we discarded these as well, but later, Nathalie's sister-in-law assured her that we could have kept them but they would just have expelled more fat. We all agreed that a lot of fat was excreted anyway, so we guess, you can be that judge on how you feel about the texture of the foie gras.
Nathalie then instructed us on the hows of seasoning foie gras. In her Christmas suitcase, she smuggled back some ingredients that can be difficult to obtain here. The ones recommended most highly by the Interior Stylist was epices de foie gras and ceylon cinnamon added with just salt and pepper. You can also use sauterne or truffles but we all thought that we would like the pure flavor of the foie gras to stand out since it is such a treat in itself. You can always serve sauterne on the side, and in fact, most people in France do.
The trick that Nathalie was so dying to try out stateside was forming the foie gras into a sausage and steaming it instead of loading it into a terrine and bathing it in a bain marie. In our zeal, we tried both methods. The sausage was more forgiving to the small pieces the Deans had created. Nathalie had proved an abler hand at deveining so we used her larger pieces for the terrine. The sausage was double wrapped in saran wrap three times, then covered in aluminum foil. We set it over gently boiling water and steamed one side for 7 mins then the other for 8. The sausage cooled on the counter and then transferred to the fridge for several days to allow flavors to blend.
The terrine was placed in a bain marie and then set in a 320-degree oven for 15 minutes. Then it, too, went in the fridge.
On the appointed day, we all gathered in Dean Pollak's kitchen for the tasting! Dean Manigault had brought a baguette, but Nathalie once again out did us by bringing a cranberry nut loaf. Once toasted, it was the perfect foil for the foie gras.
Nathalie also took things one step further by sautéing apple slices in the fat off the foie gras. No waste for this French woman, ever! We were blown away by the sausage, so much so that we barely touched the terrine. We have saved that for making into ravioli next week...so stay tuned!