For one, fresh or frozen is expensive, and there’s always that fear that a nice lobe will be ruined in the process. Although cleaning a lobe for cooking can be a delicate process, it’s not by any means a complicated endeavor, and it’s actually one of the easiest things to make.
First of all, know your foie. All available in the States is duck foie gras. Unfortunately goose foie gras can’t be found, since there are no local producers and the FDA prohibits the importation of it. Basically, geese are very hard to raise, while ducks are easier and less prone to disease. So, when you go to buy, you’ll find only duck foie gras.
Next, know your grade. Duck foie gras comes in three different grades, A, B and C. This is based on their size and appearance. An “A” grade is the best, the lobe is large, beige and smooth, with no veins. A “B” grade is very similar to an “A”, large, and pink, just with a few more blemishes and visible veins. Skip grade “C”. Go for a “B” grade. It’ll save you some money, the flavor will be identical to the top grade, and once it’s sautéed, nobody will notice any blemishes.
Once you’ve purchased your nice lobe, you need to know how to clean and prep it for cooking. Since fresh foiegras is almost impossible to get unless you live really close to a producer, your lobe will arrive frozen. To thaw, let it soak in a pot full of warm water, or thaw out in the fridge.
For sautéing, it’s really not necessary to remove all the veins. If you decide you want your duck foiegras perfectly vein-free, first-timers and those with little time should choose a deveined duck foie gras lobe.
The pan-searing process is by far the simplest and for some the more delicious. Cut the duck foie gras with a knife previously dipped in warm water into ¼ inch thick pieces. Add a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Heat your pan, dry, no oil or spray, until it’s smoking. Then add the pieces to the pan and sear on each side for 30/45 seconds. The duck foiegras juices will start to run almost immediately, so it’s always best to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t fall apart. And you’re done! Plate, top with the pan juices, or whatever your recipe calls for.