Foie Gras....PETA's whipping boy or don't care?

I am new here and am likely going to subscribe due to the immense diversity I am reading on here in all threads.
As far as Foie goes, I am a junkie. I love it in just about every single configuration possible, with the notable caveat that I tend to prefer American duck Foie for it’s firmer texture over some of the Canadian versions of goose livers I’ve tried. French livers are not available fresh due to their perishability although if I ever get across the Pond I’m dying to try some of the versions from the culinary Motherland.

I am a person that views the forcefeeding of birds with no trepidation nor care. I really don’t care if a stupid bird waddles around with an enlarged liver. Especially since the great livers being harvested in the Hudson Valley are done with as much care as possible so as not to stress the bird prior to harvest.

I have to say that foie gras holds a magical, fatty place in my arterial soul. A restaurant I used to work at in Cincinnati prepared it in my favorite fashion…seared until crispy on the exterior in an extremely hot skillet, finished in the oven on a pan, dressed with some kind of astringent mixture of macerated fruit with say, banyuls vinegar over brioche. And a nice eiswein, auslese or Sauterene on the side. MMmmmmm.

I also crave and love foie done torchon style, wrapped in a log in cheesecloth and cured in salt…then sliced and served with frissee and dried apricots, for example.

Any other guilty pleasure lovers out there? Recipes? Opinions?

Apparently, I’m of the opinion that cruelty makes foie gras all the more tasty.

So I’m told, anyway

I like a little homemade ortolan, though I guess it’s technically not really ortolan as I just use sparrows and other small birds that are common around here.

Hilarious. Who cares. It’s a stupid bird.

For centuries, a rite of passage for French gourmets has been the eating of the Ortolan. These tiny birds—captured alive, force-fed, then drowned in Armagnac—were roasted whole and eaten that way, bones and all, while the diner draped his head with a linen napkin to preserve the precious aromas and, some believe, to hide from God.
– The Wine Spectator

The eating of the ortolan has ethical eating groups baying for blood. First, it is caught with a net in the forest. Taken alive, its eyes are poked out and the bird is put in a small cage. It’s then force-fed oats, millet and figs until it has swollen to four times its normal size. Then the bird is drowned alive in fine cognac. Then, it’s roasted whole, in an oven at high heat, for six to eight minutes. Once it reaches the table, a napkin is placed over the eater’s head. The technique of eating the ortolan is to put the whole bird into the mouth, with only the beak protruding. Here sadism mingles with masochism. The first taste as you crunch on the bird is the brandied flesh and fat. Then, the bitterness of the guts follow and finally, as the tiny, delicate bones are being chewed on, they will lacerate the diner’s gums, with the salty taste of the bleeding gums mingling with the richness of the fat and the bitterness of the organs. Chewing the ortolan takes approximately 15 minutes.

From what I understand (not that I really care how it ends up on my plate), in the Hudson valley, they use females to gather the ducks into a “gaggle” as the birds are more responsive to them, and they use a feeding pack with a tube they place down the bird’s throat that has a mixture of grains in it, and the feeder massages the duck’s neck to “force” the ducks to eat more than they nomrally would, and then they become extremely thirsty and are led to a water trough where they drink more water than they usually would, resulting in their enlarged livers.

Now if there was a way to genetically engineer these birds to have full lobe livers that didn’t need deveining, then I’m all ears. Sick of pulling them out with the pliers…

Actually, ducks stress quite easily. A stressed duck makes for shitty eating, so anyone who wants to produce foie gras keeps the duck in conditions far superior to what they would be otherwise. Not only this, but they don’t feel the tube, as they don’t have a gag reflex or anything. In other words, they live in really good conditions, it doesn’t hurt them, and they get more than enough food to eat.

Not that it matters, I don’t see how I can discuss this rationally with someone called “FoieGrasIsEvil” (.com).

Finally, if you want something to be outraged over, can I offer you pressed duck?

People eat Ortolans ? :eek:

As for Foie Gras, I don’t care for it.

Yeah, and they force-feed them first. And drown them in wine.

I could see Jabba doing it.

I’m a big foie gras fan. But then, my dad’s a fine chef, and… well… foie gras’ his “thing”. Gavage is not the kindest thing, I’m sure. Nor is getting slaughtered for food, when you think about it. But then, I’m an omnivore with strong carnivore leanings. A good part of my genetic makeup is French (Alsatian and Normand) and another chunk of it is Welsh with some Irish thrown in for good measure a few generations back. I’m afraid food, beer and wine is just going to be part of things that make me happy :wink:

… and that includes dad’s foie gras, his duck confit, and just about anything else he’s willing to prepare…

I’ve never eaten foie gras, so I can’t really comment on it.

With Alsatian blood coursing through your veins, you likely have no choice but to cave to the charcuterie!

How can one not “rationally discuss” something with someone on an anonymous internet messageboard due to a username?
And what’s with the “dot com” inference?

I like it best sauteed, with this weird sort of verjuice/cassis reduction, which was how one restaurant here did it.

I shall not rest until I have eaten the ortolan. Foie gras was as much pleasure as I thought could be had from eating until I heard of this.

You’ll have to search for them. As far as I know (which in this case means: I’ve seen a show with Jeremy Clarkson eating one) they can’t be sold in France; you’ll have to get someone to give you one :slight_smile:

A local restaurant here does a wonderful bison tenderloin topped with foie gras. I had my first foie gras at Lockkeeper’s outside of Cleveland and they did a wonderful job with it as well.

I recommend it. I dog sat for two weeks while some friends were visiting relatives in France. As a thank you they brought me back some fresh Foie Gras. Very tasty, but I am not entirely sure bringing it back with them was entirely legal. Yummy way to break the law though.

Foie Gras: Liver for people who don’t like liver.

At least, that’s my impression as I can’t stand liver, but I can eat Foie Gras. But it’s nothing special to me, I put it in the same category as bologna; i.e., I can eat it, but I wouldn’t pay money for it.

Jeremy Clarkson eating an ortolan.

I ordered fois gras by accident the first time - I thought it was pâté - but I got given a whole liver. I ate with trepidation and fell in love instantly. Absolutely stunning taste and texture.

It can be unspeakably cruel, but… fuck it.

Not snarking, just very, genuinely curious: Why, then, reply to this thread? :confused:

As for me, I like foie. I think if you believe all meat is murder, then foie gras is probably just as horrible, but if you eat other animal products, you have no room to complain. So, I guess my answer to the question is…both?