Monday at ICE (Institute of Culinary Education), Ariane Daguin, chef and co-founder of D’Artagnan, presented students, alumni, the public, and TF1 (French television station) an extremely thorough look inside a duck’s afterlife, namely in our bellies. So many questions I never even knew I had.
Is there a difference between your normal everyday duck and a foie gras duck?
But of course…a foie gras duck is called Moulard, the French translation for mule. What is the connection? Just as a mule is a cross between a horse and a donkey, so is a Moulard a cross between a Muscovy and a Pekin duck. Naturally, they aren’t so fond of one another, so mating often deems difficult (hence the high price of foie gras); however, the wonders of artificial insemination have come to the rescue, although, as Ariane exclaims, that sort of takes the fun out of it.
Is the art of foie gras torture?
No, the duck is the only animal in the world able to force feed itself preparing for long flights, allowing its liver to return to normal size afterwards. It is very natural occurrence for ducks, and hence, in normal foie gras building situations, this is not torture for the duck.
What is the difference in feeding between foie gras in France and U.S. versions?
French moulards are raised on 100% corn, while American are raised on corn with a bit of soy.
What recipes can one make from a duck?
Oh, a million. But the most well-known are: Duck Confit; Magret de Canard; Duck Prosciutto; Duck Pâté; and Foie Gras.
Duck Confit – Preserved duck meat cured in salt and then slowly poached in fat.
Duck Magret – Baked or sautéed foie gras duck breast.
Duck Prosciutto – Cured, dried duck breast.
Foie Gras – Fattened liver of the Moulard duck.
Everyone in the audience enjoyed small plates of Duck Pâté de Campagne with Prunes, Magret, Prosciutto, four types of pâté/Foie Gras, and Sautéed Foie Gras. A few of us were even privileged to try the duck heart and other…um…male duck parts. Delicious. Glad I didn’t eat lunch before the demo. mmmmm…