There is more than one pebble on the beach
Pebble stones, sand, dead leaves...
This is a recipe inspired by one of the best and innovative French chefs, Christian Le Squer, chef at the 3-star restaurant "le V" of the hotel George V in Paris, one of my canteens in a previous life... I discovered it 2 or 3 years ago in the French Top Chef program. Since then, I have been willing to replicate it but, despite that, unlike in the US version, chefs and candidates use to explain with a sufficient level of details their recipe, I thought this was too complex for me. Christian Le Squer's name should spell "Le Scare" in this case! But I was bold enough to make an attempt for this year's Thanksgiving meal.
- I consider myself like a decent home cook and surely not a chef, not mentioning a starred chef... This should not prevent us, home cooks, from trying new things that, we think, are beyond our skills and capacities. This is the only way to progress in cooking and this is so rewarding even though we do not reach our model-chef level. Hey, don't forget that this chef may have tried 100 times this recipe before achieving it perfectly!
- When we try to replicate a chef's recipe, we may be tempted to take some shortcuts, to apply simpler methods or to use substitute ingredients, because we don't have the right tools, the right ingredients and/or the right skills. This is totally normal. But try your best to follow the chef's recipe. At his level of expertise and sensitiveness, he has a reason to use this technique or this ingredient. I will develop the recipe below, but here, Le Squer dips the foie gras pebbles in a mix of non-fat milk, miso and agar agar -or agar and agar and gelatin, as I don't know exactly in the same way as I don't know exactly the quantity of miso! Miso is an ingredient I am not familiar with, well, in fact I never used or tasted it before yesterday, and my first intention was to skip it. I thought this was just another effect of this trend to systematically "japonify" every recipe! However, I ordered some miso and I made a try. Honestly, I was at first not convinced at all by its taste, alone, or after I mixed a "certain" quantity in the milk. I found it too strong, too pregnant, too... different. I even thought of pitching my preparation and of making another one, lighter in miso, or even miso-free. I hate to pitch and this is what saved me, so to say. After the milk gelled around the foie gras stones, the miso appears to match perfectly with the foie gras, and in fact to have a very similar taste! QED.