So a few weeks ago I totaled a gorgeous hunk of foie gras while attempting to make WD-50’s famous Knot Foie. I failed the first step – making a traditional foie gras terrine, and then in my second step – trying to make my leftover foie stretchy to make a knot. I referenced my copy of Larousse Gastronomique, the CIA’s The Professional Chef and the Internet to make sure my first attempt at a foie gras terrine was the right one. But I decided in order to get the exact internal temperature, I should use my combi oven.
I checked to see if there was anything online concerning cooking foie in a combi oven, and the closest I found was a thread on eGullet from 2005 on cooking foie sous vide. Leading the conversation was, naturally, Nathan Myhrvold. The thread didn’t seem to indicate there would be any issues. So I changed up the recipe and slow cooked my terrine until it hit around 138F internally.
About 70% of my foie gras turned to liquid. The recipe said there would be a small layer – mine was pretty much all oil! I tried to pour it off and tamp down the remaining solids but it just failed big time. What went wrong?
I spoke with Chef Brian McCracken of Spur one night and told him what happened. He said that what I needed to do was throw the whole thing in the Vitamix and pour it back into the terrine. The usual next step – pour off the small layer of oil on top of the terrine – was uneccessary because the slow cooking liquidfied the thing. Just mix it back up and continue on.
Eric called this a double fail: not only did I screw up the terrine, but I was doing it right, then blew it. Then Eric texted me this photo:
Oh, look. WD-50’s Knot Foie. In Modernist Cuisine. I didn’t check Modernist Cuisine. Triple fail.
Had I checked it, I would have read things like
11. Reserve 50g of fat
12. Puree cooked foie gras
Konjac gum (Ticagel Konjac HV-D, TIC Gums brand)
I had tried using Glucomannan flour on the remaining foie I had as my konjac gum. The result was goop instead of stretchy goodness.
So a good lesson learned: if attempting to do a modern cooking technique to a traditional dish, maybe try checking Modernist Cuisine first. Yeah.