This decadent appetizer was inspired by the signature appetizer of Martín Berasategui, three Michelin star chef from San Sebastian (Spain), “Mille-feuille of smoked eel, foie-gras, spring onions and green apple”. The combination of foie gras with smoked eel and green apple is as amazing in this simplified rendition as it was at the restaurant. The combination of the salty smoky unctuous eel with the velvety foie gras, the crispy sweet/tart apple and the crispy sugar is just wonderful. The puree of spring onions adds yet another layer that works very well.
As decadent as this is, only 8 ingredients are required. Most of the work is in the presentation, and the hardest part by far is the crispy thin layer of sugar on top. Melted sugar is difficult to work with, as it may harden before you’ve had the chance to spread it out thinly enough. I already prepared this in 2015, and wanted to try two alterations: (1) use sous vide to cook the foie gras, and (2) use an alternative method to make the sugar layer by using corn syrup and cream of tartar.
To make a long story short: cooking the foie gras sous vide was a success and made the preparation even more easy, but the alternative method for the sugar layer didn’t help. It was still impossible (for me) to get the sugar thin enough before it hardened. Perhaps the alternative method mostly intends to keep the glass clear, which is not an important factor for this recipe. In the end I decided to use a completely different method, and create the crispy layer of sugar with a torch, just like crème brûlée. That worked like a charm. I also cooked the scallion sous vide with the cream, which improved the flavor of the sauce.
For 4 servings
140 grams (5 oz) raw foie gras
200 grams (7 oz) smoked eel
2 green apples (Granny Smith)
3 scallions/green onions, white part only
1 Tbsp cream
salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/2 lemon to rub the apple
4 Tbsp sugar
Vacuum seal the foie gras and cook sous vide for 90 minutes at 57C/135F.
Pour all of the contents of the bag into a blender, and add 1/4 teaspoon of table salt.
Blend the foie gras…
Put a ring mold with the same diameter as the green apples (7.5 centimeters, 3 inches) on a plate and line it with plastic wrap.
Pour the blended foie gras into the prepared mold. Cover and allow to firm up in the refrigerator.
Vacuum seal the white part of 3 scallions (about 30 grams) with a tablespoon of cream…
…and cook sous-vide for 2 hours at 85C/185F.
Put the scallions and cream in blender and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper.
Blend until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Arrange the smoked eel next to each other and cut out 4 circles of the size of the apple using the ring mold.
Cut thin slices (about 2 mm or 1/12 inch thick) of the green apple and remove the core. Rub the slices with half a lemon to prevent them from turning brown.
To assemble the dish, start with a slice of apple.
Arrange a circle of smoked eel on top of the apple.
Cover with another slice of apple.
If the foie gras has firmed up enough, you may be able to cut it into 4 slices. You could also put it in the freezer for a bit. Alternatively, use the ring mold to put a layer of foie gras on top of the apple.
Sprinkle evenly with a tablespoon of sugar, spreading out the sugar into an even layer.
Remove the ring mold.
Use a torch and allow the sugar to melt. Unlike crème brûlée the sugar doesn’t need to caramelize and try to limit caramelization to a minimum.
Serve with the scallion sauce on the side.
As mentioned the previous time I blogged about this dish, it works great with a slightly sweet Spätlese Riesling from Germany.
A good alternative is an off-dry champagne or other sparkling wine. So not brut, but with some residual sugar (“sec” or “extra dry”).
Pumpkin seed pappardelle with roasted pumpkin, pumpkin oil, and pumpkin seeds, is a great vegan dish that is all about pumpkin. A nice politically correct contrast to the foie gras of today’s post 🙂