Margarita's Restaurant Recipes


Sauteed Foie Gras with Grapes and Verjus

Sauteed Foie Gras with Grapes and Verjus

I agonized back and forth about whether I should make this dish. On one hand, we love foie gras, I wanted to try making it and this recipe sounded positively heavenly. On the other, I think it's barbaric to force feed ducks until their livers become enormously enlarged and I had sworn I would never eat foie gras again. Still, I decided to make it and ordered the foie gras. I then had a change of heart and called to cancel, but by then it was too late so we were stuck having to buy it.

In addition to its moral implications, foie gras has the disadvantage of being ridiculously expensive. You usually need to buy a whole liver and they cost about $50 a pound. The one we got (we weren't given a choice) was 2 lbs. so this dish cost us $100! Fortunately, foie gras freezes well so we will enjoy the rest of it in the future. Still, I think from a purely economic point of view you may be better off enjoying foie gras at a restaurant.

This said this recipe was outstanding. It was easy to make and positively delicious. Both the sauce and the foie gras are very rich, but eaten in such small quantities it works as a wonderful appetizer.

It wasn't an easy recipe to shop for, though. I was able to find the foie gras at the Cafe Rouge meat market, in Berkeley, and the verjus at the imported food store next door to it, but I could not find prepared veal stock anywhere. I wasn't willing to make it myself so I substituted with beef stock. As I said, it was very good, though of course it might have been better with veal stock. I used local, fresh, foie gras, but you can also buy frozen French foie gras. Given that this recipe only calls for 12 oz. of foie gras, you're better off buying it fresh so you don't have to thaw and re-freeze it. I used organic green grapes, which I'd recommend.

Sauteed Foie Gras with Grapes and Verjus


  • 12 oz. fresh foie gras, A grade
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • sugar
  • 1 cup halved seedless grapes
  • 1/3 cup verjus
  • 1/4 cup veal or beef stew
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 head frisee lettuce


    Diagonally cut the foie gras into 4 slices. Sprinkle each side of the foie gras with salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar.

    Heat a large sautee pan over high heat. Add the foie gras and sear for 45 seconds, turn and sear an additional 45 seconds. Remove and place on paper towels.

    Drain the fat from the pan and return to high heat. Add the grapes and verjus, stir and bring to a boil. Add the stock and return to a boil. Swirl in the butter and season with salt and pepper.

    Return the foie gras to the pan and warm up for 30 to 45 seconds.

    Lay a few leaves of lettuce on each plate, place the foie gras on top of the lettuce and pour sauce on top.

    Adapted from the recipe for Sauteed Foie Gras with Grapes and Verjus, page 61 of The Basque Kitchen.

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