Torchon 101

We have a party tomorrow night for 45pp. It's our six course menu starting with a foie amuse and seasonal garnish. We use many different techniques for foie from foam, to antigriddle, liquid nitrogen, sous vide, seared, sauce, ect...but we find ourselves coming back to the torchon.

Side Note
I had the pleasure of traveling to Israel with Michael Ginor of Hudson River Valley Foie Gras about 3 months ago, luckily we left the day before Gaza was invaded. He knows everything there is to know about the subject of foie, and put out a pretty tight book to boot. It was an interesting experience to pick his brain a bit. There are so many things that can be done with this versatile ingredient, and it is a shame that it has such a bad wrap. Gotta love PETA, thanks.

So here is the process
Saturday...soak in whole milk to help remove the blood, the tcm will highlight the blood spots in your torchon
Sunday...remove from milk and let come to room temp, separate the lobes,start with the large lobe using a spoon, scrape the foie to reveal the veins, remove the veins.
Typically in a torchon you only use the large lobe and utilize the small lobe in another application. In this case we de-veined both and sandwhiched them together. Before putting the two lobes together we seasoned them with our cure. A mix of salt, tcm, white pepper, and sugar. We apply a 2.3% ratio to the foie. Then put the lobes together, wrap in parchment, then in plastic and let cure overnight.

Monday...shape, wrap, poach, tie, hang
We start by tempering the foie again and shaping the foie into cylinders with the parchment.

Then we wrap it as tight as possible in cheese cloth then squeeze the ends to push all the foie together.

Then tie the center of the shaped torchon, then tie the end with some excess string on one end to help when poaching.

Next, poach for 90 seconds using the excess string to help remove from the poaching liquid.

Strait into ice from the poaching liquid. Let them firm slightly in the ice bath(10minutes) and remove and squeeze excess poaching liquid from the torchon, pat dry.

Again squeeze the ends to push the foie together and wrap tightly in your "torchon", in this case a bar towel. Again tie the center of the torchon and one end. The center knot helps prevent blow out but does not need to be over tightened, the end knot does on the other hand need to be as tight as possible.

Now to finish make an extremely tight knot at the opposite end again leaving some excess string to hang. This excess also has another purpose, the "tornado" tie. hold the torchon and swing the string around the torchon keeping the string taught and sliding the butchers twine under each previous pass of the twine. This compresses the foie. Once finished you should see some foie squeezing out, if not then you are loose and will have air pockets in your torchon. This is a good exercise to see how tight you can pull on piece of twine. When you get to the point where you feel you are about to break the skin and you have stopped the flow blood to your hand, that's when you are doing it right.

Finally hang it for at least a day. The foie will set and be ready to go. I will snap a shot tomorrow night so you may see the end result. Ideally you want to remove the towel, slice through the cheese cloth then ring cut the outside off as it will oxidize slightly. You may cut 1 hour before serving,brush it with extra virgin to prevent further oxidation, but keep refrigerated.

As you see, only a couple of steps but one of my favorite ways to enjoy foie.


  1. I love your blog. Great photos and a total inspiration.

    Question for you.... what do you make with Foie / Antigriddle? A lollipop?


  2. Thank you. For the antigriddle we make a foam from the foie, put a nice spot of it on the anitigriddle, and drop a strawberry in the center, or a raspberry, ect, and hold a clear pick in it until frozen. Then we'll pipe a little balsamic or minus 8 fluid gel or reduction on the side, some fleur de sel and then use a offset spat to remove from the antigriddle. Similair to the alinea presentation but I don't have the $20 a piece acrylic service pieces so we will either freeze the plate it goes on or find some random polished stainless steel and put it in the freezer for the service piece.