There are two types of foie gras, duck foie gras and goose foie gras. Only duck foie gras is produced in the United States. Only 5% of the foie gras in France comes from geese, and most of the goose foie gras imported to the US is canned and pasteurized.
There are many excellent, freshly prepared foie gras products available in the US, such as foie gras au torchon, terrine de foie gras, pâté de foie gras and mousse de foie gras.
Fresh foie gras is generally purchased as a whole lobe and is the product that is used for most recipes that call for foie gras.
If frozen, foie gras can be kept for up to one year; however, the creamy texture may break down during the freezing and defrosting process. As with all meat products, previously frozen foie gras should not be refrozen.
When calculating the amount of foie gras you will need, it is important to consider that a significant amount of the product will melt during most methods of preparation. The amount of fat that renders will depend on the cooking technique.
Generally, you can expect a weight loss of 15 to 20 percent for a Grade-A moulard foie gras. Plan on using approximately 3 - 4 ounces of raw foie gras for each appetizer portion, and 5 – 6 ounces of raw foie gras for each entrèe serving.
Grade “A” foie gras is the finest available and should be almost free of green or blood spots, should have a minimal number of veins, and should weigh between one and three pounds with a light beige and possibly slightly pink color, close to a pale egg shell. Grade-A foie gras is ideal for all delicate cooking methods including poaching, curing and searing. Always use Grade-A when the foie gras will be kept whole. Buy Grade-A foie gras
Grade “B” is almost as good but with a few blemishes; smaller; should weigh between 3/4 and 1-1/2 pounds. Great seared, or for recipes using high heat cooking. When searing, the larger veins may be removed after the slices are made. Additionally, the high heat will shrink the remaining veins somewhat. Grade B may also be used for pâtés, terrines and mousses; however, the veins should be removed. Buy Grade-B foie gras
Grade “C” is not available on the retail market and usually reserved by foie gras businesses to make all types of foie gras products such as pâtés, mousses, sauces and other preparations where the integrity of the liver is not important.
Storage and handling
Keep in the refrigerator at 33 degrees Fahrenheit (just above the freezing point of water); use within one week, or within two days if the vacuum pack has been opened. Frozen foie gras can last up to a year in the freezer. Get the ultimate expert’s tips on storage, handling and cleaning by reading Michael Ginor’s book Foie Gras…A Passion.
Remove from its vacuum pack, rinse and pat dry with paper towels or a clean cloth. Remove any blood and green spots. For poaching, braising or roasting, leave the foie gras whole; do not separate the lobes
For searing in slices, separate the slightly chilled lobes, cut crosswise or diagonally using a sharp knife, making approximately 3/4 inch – 1 inch thick slices. Thinner slices could well melt in the pan before the outside is browned and crispy. Cutting a chilled lobe of foie gras is easy when the knife blade has been dipped into hot water. Wipe the blade between each slice. Then follow the recipe.
When the recipe requires deveining, take the foie gras out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for at least one hour to soften. Rinse and pat dry, remove bile and blood spots if any. Gently open the two lobes with your fingers, locate the larger vein that will eventually split into two directions reaching inside the lower part of each lobe. Carefully remove the larger vein and the smaller ones as well. The foie gras also has a very thin membrane around it, which can be removed or not depending on the recipe. Once cooked, especially when slices are seared, it is almost unnoticeable. Then, put the two lobes back together, giving the foie gras its initial shape.