A deluxe breakfast from Montreal hot spot Joe Beef.
When we opened Joe Beef, we made all kinds of promises, oaths of sorts: no cranberry juice, we would wash dishes ourselves, we would stay open Monday nights. We also always have (at least) one breakfast item on the dinner menu. Of course, we are closed Mondays and never do the dishes ourselves, but we do always have one breakfast item on the menu. Oh, and we still don't serve cranberry juice.
We see foie gras the same way we see skateboarding: we had a phase, like most everyone. But then it stopped, and now it's here and there and we enjoy it in small doses. If you come to town and want to feast on foie gras everything, make a pit stop at Au Pied de Cochon; they are our good friends and do it better than anyone.
Our favourite way to serve foie gras is with a breakfast-sausage patty or peameal bacon, a well-peppered over-easy egg, and an English muffin. Add a dash of maple mustard and you're happy, whether it's 7:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m. (You'll have plenty of mustard left over, but that's okay. It's good with everything from salmon to corn dogs.) Remember, when you sear foie gras, be generous with salt, use a good pan, and most important be prepared for a smoke show. Work fast and have a tray and tongs at hand before you start.
2 thin slices Canadian back bacon or peameal bacon
1 English muffin, split
2 tbsp canola oil
4-oz. piece fresh duck or goose foie gras, 3/4" thick
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp pepper
Step 1: To make the maple mustard, bring the maple syrup to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and boil for about 6 minutes, or until the bubbles increase in size. Remove from the heat, let cool for about 3 minutes, then whisk in the prepared mustard, the mustard seeds, and the pepper. Let cool completely before using. Maple mustard stores well in a tight-capped container in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks.
Step 2: The best thing to have for this operation is one of those plug-in flat, nonstick griddles, the kind the tasting ladies have in the grocery store. You can cook your egg, bacon, and muffin on the griddle while you blast the liver on the stove top. Preheat the oven to 350°F; this is to keep the bacon warm after cooking or to blast the foie if need be. Turn on the griddle and set to medium-high heat. When the griddle is ready, cook the bacon until the edges are golden brown and lightly crispy, fry the egg over easy, and toast the cut sides of the muffin.
Step 3: Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat. When the frying pan is superhot, add the liver and cook, turning once, until nicely coloured. You want a good colour on the foie gras, kind of like the skin of a roasted chicken. This will take only a minute or two total in a very hot pan. Remember to flip the liver away from you so you don't splash your belly. Carefully transfer the liver to a baking sheet. If the liver is still hard to the touch, put it in the oven for a minute or two. The fat that collects in the baking sheet (but not the fat from the frying pan) is good to drizzle on the muffin.
Step 4: Now build your sandwich: start with a muffin half, cut side up, and top it with the bacon, the egg, and the foie. Drizzle the stack with a little mustard, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and top with the other muffin half.
See more recipes from Joe Beef.
Reprinted with permission from Frédéric Morin, David McMillan and Meredith Erickson's The Art of Living According to Joe Beef (2011 Ten Speed Press).