I love New Year’s Eve, on condition that I don’t have to go anywhere or celebrate with anyone except my significant other, and provided we can be in bed by latest 10.30 p.m. It’s the perfect pretext for a very private feast for two. This year ours consisted of seared slices of duck foie perched on a pillow of pureed parsnips with slivers of crisp-fried parsnips and a little Balsamic vinegar drizzled round about (gotta have drizzle).
A half-bottle of Mission Hill Riesling ice wine from Canada’s Okanagan Valley from grapes frozen on the vine, pressed frozen with all their concentrated essence and transmuted into a deep golden elixir, provided a serendipitous match: a brilliant backbone of acidity balanced the wine’s natural sweetness and cut across the unctuous richness of the foie and the creamy parsnips.
Salt and white pepper
250ml whipping cream
4 small slices (200g) foie gras de canard
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Sprigs of thyme
- Trim and peel the parsnips. Cut a few thin slices from the tail ends, about the size of small coins (for the garnish) and set them aside
- Cut the rest in chunks, put them in a saucepan with salt, white pepper and cream
- Bring to a simmer – be careful they don’t boil over – and simmer for about 15 minutes or until tender when pierced with a skewer
- Tip the parsnips and cream in to a blender and blend till perfectly smooth, or blend in the pan using a stalk blender
- Return them to the pan and set aside till ready to reheat.
- Season the foie on both sides with salt and white pepper
- When ready to go, reheat the puree gently in the saucepan; heat also 2 plates
- In a heavy pan (copper or non-stick) heat 1 teaspoon of oil and fry the reserved slivers of parsnip briefly till golden, flipping them over once.
- Set them aside, wipe out the pan with kitchen paper, get it very hot again (no oil needed) and sear the foie gras slices very briefly (less than 1 minute each side) until golden and lightly crusted, turning them once
- Spoon out a pillow of puree onto each plate, set the foie gras slices on top, garnish with reserved parsnip slices and sprigs of thyme
- Drizzle a little Balsamic vinegar around and serve at once with a slice or two of toasted country-style bread