Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Foie Gras in Brighton Beach

"It's like that summer in Minsk after I left the force.”
I said to Kit as we were seated at our table at Cafe Volna, one of Brighton Beach’s iconic restaurants on the wide boardwalk. The menu is worn, a laminated and faded historic document, a compilation of the motherlands favorites (herring, pickled cabbage, borscht) and New World delights (chicken tenders, shrimp scampi, foie gras for $25). As we sat in the room filled with old Russian gentlemen sporting Yeltsin haircuts, track suits and lots of chest hair as well as small grandmotherly ladies with beehive hairdos and tattered dresses, we drank our vodka and waited for our food to come.

I had ordered the Foie Gras as my main and some potato dumplings to go with it. Kit got the Chicken Kiev. I wasn't so impressed with the Chicken, but the Foie was out of this world. It was cooked very simply, seared on toast, and served with some unfortunate canned fruit. When it came to the table, as you might have guessed, I disregarded the fruit and just went straight for the Foie. I could not have been happier at that moment.

I love this ingredient. The full taste, the rich texture, the pure luxury, a velvet track suit and gold chain for your tongue. Some people can only eat this a little at a time. I like it in big portions. lol.

Maybe some day I will make a vid of how I prep Foie Gras, but for know here is just a written description on my simple take.

On the occasion that I do serve it, the seared slices are usually placed on toasted challah. I know the challah doesn't need anything at this point when serving with the Foie, but I like to put a little garlic and parsley infused duck fat on a thick slice and toast it to a golden hue.

To add a sweet factor, as per usually done with this ingredient, I like to add a dollop o f ripe, champagne mango puree. Nothing special. Just get some great mangoes, blitz them and strain. To add some texture and a sweet crunch, I suggest making a simple toasted hazelnut brittle. Melt some sugar, add some toasted hazelnuts. Cook for 1 minute. Spread out on a Silpat and let cool until hard. This will help keep the mouth-feel of the whole dish interesting on the palate.

To finish, garnish with some cilantro stems. In the picture below, I made some caramelized onions. It's not necessary and I wouldn't add it in the future. Enjoy!

Here's my finished product:

Cafe Volna
3145 Brighton 4th St
Brooklyn, NY 11235
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach
(718) 332-0341

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