Sunday, June 5, 2011

Seared Foie Gras with Pain Perdu, Salted Grapes, Vanilla-Maple Espuma, Ice Wine Gastrique, Purple Sweet Potato Puree

This dish was made for a Chefs Table last week, it’s a kind of “breakfast for dinner” plate. There are a lot of big flavors on this plate; the richness of the foie gras, the salty tartness of the grapes, the buttery pain perdu, sweet and sour gastrique and the sweet and airy vanilla-maple espuma. The contrasting temperatures of the chilled espuma, the ambient grapes and gastrique and the hot foie gras and pain perdu made the dish novel from start to finish. In every bite there was a different flavor and temperature combination.

Pain Perdu is commonly known as French Toast and it’s literal translation is “lost bread”, referring to the stale bread that is typically used for the preparation of the dish. Bread is dipped in an egg and dairy mixture and then pan fried until brown on both sides and the egg has cooked through.

The Vanilla-Maple Espuma was made by combining maple syrup, water, vanilla bean and lemon juice in a sauce pot and bringing it all to a simmer, then letting the vanilla bean steep in the mixture as it cooled. Once it reaches room temperature, the mixture can be strained and then chilled. Pasteurized egg white can then be added as the lecithin will help the mixture hold air. When ready to serve simply run the infused syrup mixture through a co2 charger to froth it.

The gastrique was made just as the tomato gastrique was for the “Deconstructed Shrimp Cocktail” a while back, you can click here to re-visit that post. The acid used for the gastrique was Minus 8 ice wine vinegar, made from Riesling grapes harvested at eight degrees below zero in the frigid fields of Ontario. The grapes are dried before squeezing, resulting in the signature sweet and explosive flavor of this vinegar.

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