Mushrooms and Foie Gras Under Glass
This is an old and wonderful appetizer from Antoine’s, available by advance order. It’s an incredibly rich concoction, and when the glass bell is removed at the table, a cloud of aroma is released. My version of this moves forward from the era of Antoine’s cuisine into our own, with its availability of much better and more varied mushrooms and fresh foie gras. This is a good dish to keep in the back of your mind the next time you encounter some interesting fungi. The insanely rich character of the old recipe is still in full force. And don’t worry about not having the glass bells. It’s just another one of those ancient serving techniques at Antoine’s that doesn’t have much meaning anymore.
- 1 1/2 sticks butter
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms, the more exotic the better, about a quarter-inch thick
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/3 cup dry sherry
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 oz. fresh foie gras, sliced about a quarter-inch inch thick into eight pieces
- 8 slices toasted French bread, about a half-inch thick
1. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the foie gras slices, and sear them in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until lightly browned. Remove the foie gras and keep warm.
2. In the same skillet, bring one stick of the butter to a bubble and add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms become tender.
3. Meanwhile, make a thin béchamel. Heat the milk until warm but not steaming (the microwave works perfectly). In a saucepan, heat the remaining half-stick of butter until it bubbles. Sprinkle in the flour and stir in until it turns into a roux. Don’t let it brown. Lower the heat and whisk in the milk slowly and constantly until a thick sauce forms.
4. Add the sherry to the mushrooms and bring to a boil until the alcohol has evaporated–about two minutes. Lower the heat to a simmer, and stir in the béchamel. Add salt and pepper to taste, and cook over very low heat, stirring lightly, until the sauce penetrates the mushrooms.
5. Place a slice of foie gras atop the slices of toast on plates. Pour about a half-cup of the mushroom mixture over the toast. Serve hot.