California chefs are welcoming the return of foie gras to menus, after a state bill banning production and sale was partly overturned last week. It’s been a two-year-plus hiatus, but the luxe liver can once again be purchased and sold in California. Production of foie gras, achieved by force-feeding geese, is still banned.
Chefs in Orange County were ready for this development.
Last Wednesday, the very day the court decision was announced, chef Geeta Bansal began offering a foie dish at Clay Oven in Irvine—foie gras cocktail samosas with sour-cherry chutney ($12) that she originally created for the evening she cooked at New York City’s Beard House back in September. “This was one of the big hits at the New York event,” she says. “We fill the cocktail-size samosa with cooked foie and a concentrated sour-cherry chutney that oozes into the foie when it heats up during the flash frying. The crisp pastry and the chutney offsets the richness of the foie very well.”
At Stonehill Tavern in the St. Regis, chef Raj Dixit had his order ready for Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the producer-supplier he’s used with for most of his professional career, and started serving his foie gras appetizer Friday evening. He’s using late-winter seasonal flavors: grilled foie gras with orchard apple, absinthe, and rye ($29). Dixit employs the flavor profile of the French pain d’epices, spice bread with honey and rye flour—he dislikes too-sweet foie preparations. The liver is seasoned with Maine sea salt and Balinese pepper, gently grilled, then steam-roasted. Dixit says this technique allows fat to drain, creating a refined, elegant result. Additionally, Stonehill will serve Chateau d’Yquem Sauteurnes by the glass, a time-honored foie gras accompaniment.
At the Anaheim White House, chef Bruno Serato’s foie takes classic form: A 5-ounce portion is sautéed with port wine and garnished with crunchy apples ($28). Serato, so well-known for feeding thousands of homeless motel children, also delivers luxury to his regular diners.
In Costa Mesa, chef Jeff Boullt of Social is offering hot and cold foie—seared and served with New Orleans-style pain perdu, smoked cherry jus, and toasted hazelnuts ($23) in a hot starter, and as a cold torchon with brioche, quince, walnuts, and Banyuls ($12).