Easy Party Appetizers: Foie Gras Stuffed Prunes with Almond Tuiles
Foie gras stuffed dried plums are my guilty pleasure. The dried plums (prunes) are baked with maple syrup, and to enhance the texture and flavor, I add a pinch of fleur de sel and a sprinkle of crumbled almond tuile cookies. These little appetizers will definitely be served by the dozens during our New Year Eve's dinner.
I know this recipe might raise some eyebrows on several levels. I've always loved, perhaps worshipped, the French culinary delicacy called foie gras. If you've never tasted foie gras before, it's like eating a piece of intensely flavored, semi-softened butter. Some people think it's an abomination and constitutes cruelty to animals. I believe that in Chicago for a time there was even a ban on foie gras and that the sale and production of foie gras is still illegal in California.
The other thing you might find odd is that I chose to use prunes in an elegant appetizer. I was surprised to learn from Lulu that in America, prunes are marketed as digestive aids and have a rather negative stigma. That is not the case in France. Prunes are often served as a snack for children, and just yesterday I saw them on a fruit and cheese platter at the end of a lovely meal we had at my friend's home. They’re now marketed in the U.S. as dried plums, not prunes, because there was so much negativity associated with prunes as a laxative.
I hope this recipe will inspire you to try new ingredients, or perhaps old ingredients in new ways.
Yields: 8 appetizers8 prunes (dried plums)
1 (1-inch) slice goose foie gras (or any pâté), chilled
½ teaspoon fleur de sel (or regular salt)
¼ teaspoon white peppercorns (optional), coarsely crushed
2 teaspoons maple syrup, as needed
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup almond tuile cookies (click on the link for the recipe), crumbled
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Cut the foie gras into 8 equal pieces.
Using kitchen shears, make a cross incision in the prunes, starting from the stem, cutting three-quarters of the way to the root. Remove the pit and open up the prune like a flower. Place the prunes onto a baking pan, previously greased with olive oil. Spray a little oil onto each prune and drizzle a little maple syrup. Bake them for about 3 minutes, just enough so the prunes are warm.
Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and insert foie gras into each prune. Sprinkle with almond tuile cookies. Let them stand for about 5-10 minutes, so the foie gras softens in the warm prunes.
Sprinkle a little white pepper (if used).
You can serve the prunes as appetizers. Just decorate your platter by placing fresh fig leaves and some mint. If it's s sit-down dinner, you can serve them as a salad with mixed salad greens drizzled with a flavorful vinaigrette.
The maple syrup is optional; it will act as "glue" and will bond the foie gras to the crumbled gingerbread. A little drizzle is enough; you could also use honey or agave nectar.December 29, 2010.