Ingredients:

  • 1 1⁄2 lbs. fresh duck foie gras
  • 1⁄3 cup good-quality Sauternes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 finely chopped black truffle (optional)

Preparation:

An advanced preparation which is a classic of French cuisine. A “terrine” is an earthenware cooking dish with a tightly fitting lid. In this version the ingredients are steamed in their own juices.

  1. Prepare foie gras: to clean and devein whole foie gras, allow chilled foie gras to warm up so that it's tender and manageable (cold liver is brittle, and its veins harder to locate and remove intact). Pull any bits of translucent membrane from the surface, and separate the two lobes, using a knife to sever any connecting veins. Inspect the folds for patches of bitter green bile that could mar the terrine and extract them with a knife.
  2. Cleaning and deveining is a tricky business. For a smooth terrine, you must remove the thick, branched main vein that runs through the center of each lobe. If you're experienced, dig into the middle of each lobe with a paring knife, catch the vein under its tip and pull it out. If you're a novice, probe for the vein and its branches with your fingers, pulling it out as you follow its length.
  3. Soaking deveined foie gras pieces overnight in ice water draws out any excess blood.
  4. The next day, break the liver into pieces and marinate it for 2 hours in Sauternes.
  5. Place foie gras in a medium bowl, break into even pieces, and add sauternes. Season with salt and pepper and allow to marinate 2 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 200°. Remove foie gras from marinade; press into a 2 1⁄2-cup terrine, leaving a bit of space at top. Place terrine on 3 folded-over paper towels in the bottom of a deep skillet, and fill skillet with hot water to reach halfway up sides of terrine. Cook until internal temperature of foie gras reaches 115° on a meat thermometer, about 30 minutes. Pour off fat and reserve. Cool terrine.
  7. Cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside top of terrine and wrap it in plastic wrap. Gently press cardboard onto foie gras; weight with a small can for 1 hour. Remove can and cardboard, return reserved fat to terrine, cover, and refrigerate 1–2 days.
  8. To unmold, dip terrine in a bowl of warm water for 30 seconds, run a knife along edges, and invert onto a plate. (Reserve fat in terrine.) Serve thinly sliced, garnished with truffle, if desired. If covered in reserved fat leftovers will keep, refrigerated, for 1 week.