Each week on the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. Last week, Los Angeles chef Josef Centeno talked up a porchetta di testa he had and loved at Ned Ludd in Portland. Now we turn to Ned Ludd chef Jason French for his pick of a perfect dish. What do you wish you could have more of, Jason?
Who: Jason French, chef at Ned Ludd, Portland
What: Torchon of foie gras
Where: Jardinière, San Francisco
I was doing a dinner at Jardinière last year. After service, just sitting at the bar, I had a classic foie gras plate that was pretty unbelievable. It was a torchon of foie gras, with a little green salad, with some sort of end-of-summer fruit compote. It was pretty outstanding. Like silk. They have a reputation for being super classic, but this was a case where the execution was just really fantastic. It was sent out as part of a bunch of other stuff. It was still really sublime. I like when people do richness and manage to balance it. There should be a cleansing element that should be part of any rich dish like that.
Jardinière executive chef Traci Des Jardins responds:
The foie gras is cleaned in the traditional way like for a terrine. It’s soaked and de-veined. Then it’s salted and rolled in a cheesecloth to sit for 18 hours. We make a fruit compote to accompany it that changes constantly — right now it’s rhubarb — and serve it with a little mesclun salad and toasted brioche. Basically with foie gras you just always have to have that sweet-salt-acid element to go with it.