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Carpaccio of foie gras with figs and walnut, by Pascal Aussignac

08 December 2009 by
Carpaccio of foie gras with figs and walnut, by Pascal Aussignac

This recipe from Michelin-starred Gascon chef, Pascal Aussignac, is one of three taken from his book, Cuisinier Gascon.

Foie gras that has been reared in a wholesome, natural state is so good it can be eaten raw, simply cut in wafer-thin slices and sprinkled lightly with what I like to call "crazy salt" - sea salt mixed with Espelette pepper. You can also add a drizzle of Xipister vinegar or a light brushing of Sauternes wine.

We serve this shaped as roses on a bed of a carpaccio of figs accompanied by chopped fresh walnuts. It is also extremely good served with a glass of fine port.

(Serves four)

  • 400g fresh duck foie gras (the large lobe only)
  • 8 fresh black figs

To serve

  • 2tsp fleur de sel
  • ½ tsp Espelette pepper
  • Xipister vinegar or Sauternes wine
  • A little walnut oil
  • A few fresh-shelled walnuts
  • 4-8 slices country bread or brioche, toasted

Snip the tops off the figs and cut each in half lengthways. Lay a sheet of non-stick baking parchment paper out on a large board and press each fig half cut-side down, then cover with another non-stick sheet. Using a large rolling pin, roll the fig halves as thin as you can, 3mm thick or less - like a £1 coin.

Then lift the figs still in the paper on to a flat sheet and freeze until solid. Sometimes, we then use a metal round cutter and cut out neat rounds of frozen fig. When ready to serve, cut the foie gras in wafer-thin slices. We obviously use a slicer, but you could use a Japanese mandolin or a very sharp knife dipped in hot water between each slice.

Lay some frozen figs on a plate, then top with the foie gras slices, which you can fold in a rosace or circular rose pattern - you could do this slightly in advance, but you must clingfilm each plate, and leave in the fridge.

Mix together the salt and Espelette pepper, my crazy salt. Sprinkle over the foie gras, then drizzle or carefully brush over the vinegar or Sauternes and walnut oil.

Scatter walnuts around and serve with toasted brioche slices

Cuisinier Gascon, published by Absolute Press, £25. ISBN 978-1-906650-20-9

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