The inspiration for this dish came from a dish we enjoyed at the Librije. Usually when I use a restaurant dish for inspiration I do not try to make an exact copy, but try to simplify it to get to the essence of the dish with as little effort as possible (80% of the flavor for 20% of the effort). The dish at Librije was foie gras with grey shrimp, tomato water, and lime. I thought it would be nice to make an amuse bouche based on that idea. At first I tried it with kaffir lime zest, but when I had the same dish for the second time at Librije, I realized that kaffir lime leaf would be better. I have kept this dish as simple as possible, and am very happy with the result. For the best flavor you have to peel the shrimp yourself, but that is quite a chore and such small shrimp are hard to find unpeeled. I imagine that outside of the Netherlands it may even be difficult to find those small grey shrimp at all. They are much more flavorful than their larger cousins. But if you can’t find them, by all means substitute with the smallest shrimp you can find. If you are sticking to my way of plating, you may end up with a main course sized portion though if you make a circle of larger shrimp.
Kaffir lime leaves can be found frozen at Asian markets, but I pick them fresh from my kaffir lime trees.
Sous vide is not only a great way to cook the foie gras (it was actually originally invented for exactly that purpose), but it is also a great way to infuse oil with the lime leaves.
For 8 servings as an amuse bouche
- 120 grams (4 oz) raw foie gras
- 8 kaffir lime leaves (fresh or frozen, not dried)
- 750 grams (1.7 lbs) plum tomatoes
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) peeled small grey shrimp
- some Japanese soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp light olive oil
- 2 grams (generous 1/4 tsp) table salt
- 1 gram (1/4 tsp) powdered sugar
- 1/16 tsp mild chile powder, such as New Mexico or Ancho, optional
Start with the tomato water the day before. Wash and dry 750 grams of tomatoes. Quarter them, and put them in a blender or food processor.
Blend until quite smooth (but you don’t want to crush the seeds).
Place a sieve on a large bowl and arrange a cheesecloth on top. Pour the tomato pulp on the cheesecloth.
Transform the cheesecloth into a knapsack by taking the four corners, and using some string to close it. Hang the knapsack above the bowl and allow the tomato water to drain overnight.
Season the tomato water to taste with Japanese soy sauce. Use only a little as it is not supposed to taste like soy sauce; it only serves to enhance the tomato flavor.
Vacuum seal 120 grams of raw foie gras with nothing else in the bag. Remove the central rib of 8 lime leaves, and slice them into very narrow strips (chiffonade). Vacuum seal 2 tablespoons of light-flavored extra virgin olive oil with the lime leaf strips. If you do not own a chamber vacuum machine, it is best to use a ziploc bag and the water displacement method.
Cook the foie gras sous vide for 2 hours at 57C/135F and infuse the olive oil with the lime zest at the same time by placing that bag in the same water bath. The heat will help to extract the lime flavor out of the leaves. This process is accelerated by slicing the lime leaves thinly rather than leaving them whole.
Blend all the contents of the bag with the sous vide cooked foie gras until smooth. Make sure there is no fat left behind in the bag before you start blending. Add 2 grams of salt and 1 gram of powdered sugar and blend a bit more to mix. Chill the pureed foie gras in the refrigerator for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so to mix the fat that will float on top back in. Keep chilling until after 15 minutes no more fat has risen to the surface.
Place the foie gras in round silicon molds with a diameter of 4 cm (1.5 inches), and then allow to firm up, covered, in the refrigerator. This will probably take at least 4 hours. The foie gras should feel very firm before you try to take it out of the mold.
Zeef de limoenolie.
Take the foie gras out of the mold and place one piece on each plate.
Rinse the shrimp with cold water and pat fry with kitchen paper. Place the shrimp in a bowl and season to taste with 1 teaspoon of the lime-infused oil, just a bit of salt, and 1/16 teaspoon of mild chile powder. You should not be able to taste the chile separately, just like the soy in the tomato water, it serves only to enhance the flavor of the shrimp. Arrange the shrimp on top of the foie gras as shown in the photo. Pour the tomato water around the foie gras, and spoon some drops of lime-infused oil around the foie gras. It is best to bring the plates to the dinner table first and add the tomato water and oil there, as the dish won’t stay as nice when walking with it. Do all of this quickly after you take the foie gras out of the refrigerator, because it will soften as it warms up and will lose its shape and could cause the tomato water to become murky.
This is great with an off-dry German Riesling (Spätlese or Auslese) or with a “Dry” (“Sec”) Champagne. The terminology for the dryness of champage can be confusing, because Extra Dry sounds very dry, but is not as dry as Brut. To work with the foie gras, a “Dry” Champagne with 17 to 33 grams per litre of residual sugar, is the best pairing. Champagne styles are as follows:
- Brut Nature, 0-3 grams residual sugar per litre
- Extra Brut, 0-6 grams
- Brut, 0-12 grams
- Extra Sec or Extra Dry, 12-17 grams
- Sec or Dry, 17-33 grams
- Demi-Sec, 33-50 grams
- Doux, 50 or more grams
3 thoughts on “Foie Gras Sous Vide with Shrimp and Lime”
Interesting recipe and beautiful plating – personally do no use foie gras for ethical and moral reasons.
This dish looks like a real show stopper. The flavours must be beautiful. I will check my fish monger for little shrimp, they might even be able to bring some in for us.
I’m impressed that you have a kaffir lime tree, is it indoors or out? Sadly it’s far too cold here to keep it outdoors.
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Indoors in winter, outdoors in summer. Great for both the limes (zest) and leaves.