If you thought foie gras was unusual to stockpile for the event of an emergency, financial or otherwise, may I remind you firstly that I am thepassionatecook and secondly that you'll get a can of tomatoes or a few wrinkly potatoes somehow from somewhere, but even if you resort to supermarket raids or robbing your neighbours of their much-coveted food possessions, you'll be hard-pressed to find any luxury food items there (unless you live round the corner from Fortnum & Mason, of course). So I say: rely on humanitarian aid for the basics and have a little something for the days when the rain turns into a thunder storm and you need something to lift your mood and transport you back to those happier days of your life.
Since we're being told left, right and centre that apparently, there's light at the end of the tunnel and we might be seeing a swift economic recovery soon, I have decided to part with one humble glass of preserve stashed away for a rainy day. I didn't have much choice in the matter, by the way, it was one of those nights when you are hard-pressed to find anything meaningful for your dinner in the fridge (I dare you to make something from a shrivelled aubergine, a half-empty glass of fake caviar, a jar of nutella and a bunch of petits filous) and can't be bothered to venture out into the pouring rain... and seeing that I bought this in a kilner jar rather than a tin, and it was approaching its best-by date rapidly, I didn't think twice.
So there you have it, that's my excuse. Not that I think I need one, there a million reasons why one should indulge and be merry every once in a while. With a bottle of sticky given to my other half as a present, this made a wonderfully decadent dinner last week, the seasonal compote of figs and peaches at their prime, a frivolous amount of crushed garlic, a glug of balsamico and some freshly picked rosemary from the garden, this was probably the best version of foie gras I have ever made. If I say so myself. And for the half hour that it lasted, I was laughing in the face of the credit crunch or whatever you choose to call it.
Foie gras with fig & peach compote*
(serves 4 as a starter)
4 generous slices of foie gras
fleur de sel
freshly ground pepper
2 very ripe figs
1 very ripe peach
1 tsp butter
3 cloves garlic
100 ml marsala
1 sprig rosemary
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 slices of brioche (toasted or pan-fried in a little butter)
Wash the figs and peach and cut into segments about 1 com thin.
Heat the butter in a pan. Add the fruit and garlic and cook for a minute so the garlic loses some of its punch. Deglaze with marsala and balsamic vinegar and add the rosemary. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the fruit has softened and the juices have thickened a little.
To serve, sprinkle the foie gras slices with fleur de sel and coarsely ground pepper, top with some of the compote and serve with a slice of brioche.
* I have come to appreciate the products of Georges Bruck in the Alsace region very much and buy their half-preserved foie gras in kilner jars whenever I get an opportunity.