Foie Gras and Cactus Pear ▶
This dish is a study in surprising contrasts. Crisp fried slices of bright orange sweet potato and a vivid red cactus pear sauce flecked with pomegranate seed are matched with buttery seared foie gras. And served at an elegant French inn in the countryside near Washington, D.C., by quintessential French chef Alain Borel. The sweet potato chips and sauce base may be prepared up to six hours in advance and kept at room temperature. The foie gras should be seared and the sauce completed just prior to serving.
- Sweet-Potato Chips
- Sweet Potato - 1, peeled
- Vegetable Oil - 4 cups, for deep frying
- Cactus Pear Puree
- Cactus Pears - 2, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- Ruby Port - 3/4 cup, divided
- Foie Gras
- Duck Foie Gras - Six, 1/4-inch-thick slices, trimmed and soaked
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Veal Demi-Glace - 2 tablespoons
- Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons
- Pomegranate - 1, seeded (6 tablespoons pomegranate seeds)
- Fresh sage leaves for garnish
To make the sweet-potato chips: Cut the sweet potato into 1/16-inch-thick slices. Heat the vegetable oil to 375 F in a heavy, deep pot or a deep fryer, until almost smoking. Cook the sweet potato slices until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the slices and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a very low oven.
To make the cactus pear sauce: Cook the pears with 1/2 cup of the port in a medium saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Mash the cooked pears with a fork to incorporate them into the liquid. Remove the pears from the heat and puree in a blender or food processor for 15 to 20 seconds. Strain the puree through a fine-meshed sieve. Set aside and keep warm.
To prepare the foie gras: Preheat a dry skillet over high heat. Season the foie gras with salt and pepper on both sides. Cook the foie gras for about 15 seconds on each side, or until lightly browned. Remove the foie gras from the skillet immediately and set aside. In the same pan, add the remaining port and boil until reduced by half. Add the cactus pear puree and the veal demi-glace. Add the butter, whisking gently until smooth. Check the seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary. Add the pomegranate seeds and remove from heat.
To assemble and serve: Divide the sauce among six warmed plates. Add the sweet potato chips in a circle in the middle of the sauce. Put a slice of foie gras in the middle of each sweet potato circle. Decorate each plate with fresh sage leaves.