I hear the word frequently on the Food Network and I've never known exactly what it meant. I had tried by process of elimination to figure it out....all to no avail. What is foie gras?
I think I'll start by sharing what foie gras isn't, based on the silly ideas I had when trying toÂ search forÂ its definition. Foie gras isn't for moms like me who feed an average of ten people at her dinner table. It isn't for families with toddlers who exist on diets of chicken nuggets and French fries. And it isn't for those who believe making dinner means throwing a Lean Cuisine into the microwave oven.
It isn't for those who entertain al fresco with burgers on the grill, chips and beer. Foie gras isn't the kind of food you serve when Great Uncle Mortie comes to visit the family.
Foie gras isn't a mushroom. It isn't cow brain or pig intestine. Foie gras doesn't grow on a tree and isn't harvested from the ground.
Foie gras won't blend your cake batter or chop your onions. It won't preheat your oven and it won't teach you to speak fluent French.
A French word, however, "foie gras" is actually French for the liver of a duck or goose that has been specifically fattened for the purpose of flavoring foods.
It is a most popular delicacy in France, and is sold in and of itself or used in recipes for mousse, sauces, parfaits and even some pates.
French law even states that "Foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France." No one has been arrested, however, for using foie gras in other countries!
I'll admit to not having any particular desire to cook with foie gras, now that I understand what it is. While I'll eat the occasional serving of liver and onions with heavy sides of mashed potatoes and gravy, the notion of duck or goose liver particularly fattened for the cause does nothing for me.
Chefs will scoff at my foolishness, and to them I say the following. Prepare something divine. Use foie gras. Serve it to me on a silver pletter. Just don't divulge the ingredients you've used!