I was once told that a successful amuse-gueule—little treats served before a meal—is like the opening line of a novel: It should catch your attention and set a tone for things to come. When fresh figs are in season, I serve them stuffed with foie gras as the “Call me Ishmael” of a celebratory feast.–Katherine Alford
Figs Stuffed with Foie Gras Mousse
- Quick Glance
- 1 H, 15 M
- 6 H, 30 M
- Serves 4 to 6
- For the foie gras mousse
- 6 ounces grade-B or -C duck foie gras, clean
- 2 tablespoons Cognac, Armagnac, or Sauterne
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 gratings nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon minced summer or black winter truffle (optional)
- For the figs
- 1 pound fresh Black Mission or green figs
- 2 ounces homemade foie gras mousse (above) or, to save time, store-bought mousse
- 2 teaspoons verjus (available in specialty foods stores), or 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar diluted with 1 teaspoon water
- 1 tablespoon sliced almonds, toasted and finely chopped (see Note)
- Make the foie gras mousse
- 1. Combine the foie gras, Cognac, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- 2. Drain the foie gras–marinating liquid into a small saucepan. Add the stock and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 minute to make a poaching broth.
- 3. Put the foie gras in the hot broth, cover, and turn off the heat. Poach for 5 minutes, or until the foie gras has an internal temperature of 115°F (45°C). Remove the foie gras from the broth. Transfer the broth to a small bowl and set over ice to cool it to room temperature. Return the foie gras to the cool liquid and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- 4. Remove the foie gras from the liquid, pat dry, and purée the foie gras along with any rendered fat in a food processor until smooth. (If the mousse gets a broken, curdy look to it, add about 1 tablespoon of the poaching liquid to stabilize the emulsion.) Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add the nutmeg and truffle, if desired. Transfer the mousse to a ramekin. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
- Make the figs
- 5. Trim the stem end of the figs. With the tip of a serrated apple corer, a melon baller, or a grapefruit knife, cut a small round out of the bottom of each fig and reserve. Carefully scoop about one-third of the flesh from the center of each fig and reserve.
- 6. In a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer, beat the foie gras mousse or prepared foie gras until it is light, like a buttercream icing. Put the mousse or foie gras in a pastry bag and pipe it into the figs. Plug each fig with a reserved round piece of fig. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until the mousse or foie gras is firm.
- 7. In a small pan, heat the reserved fig flesh with the verjus or vinegar mixture until liquefied. Press through a fine-meshed sieve to remove the seeds.
- 8. To serve, cut each fig in half lengthwise and brush the cut side with the glaze. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and serve.
Note: Toasting nuts
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Spread nuts on a baking sheet. Bake until brown, about 5 to 10 minutes, depending upon size.