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Before starting, organise the necessary ingredients. I recommend choosing a foie gras between 400 and 600 grams. A really big liver is often a sign of poor quality and a speedy feeding process.
You can also use goose liver which should weigh between 800g and 1kg for best quality. I find duck liver has more character but that's totally up to you.
Foie gras should be at room temperature (16 or 17°C) for this deveining technique. You won't be able to remove veins from a cold liver.
Separate the two lobes by pulling them apart (do not use a knife). We've got a big lobe and a small lobe.
Set the small lobe aside.
Deveining the first lobe: The main vein starts here, at the top. The vein goes across the whole length of the lobe.
The second main vein is located in the centre of the lobe (where both lobes were attached).
Place the big lobe on a chopping board. If you're right-handed, place the thick part to your right and the thin end to your left. Slightly heat the blade of a sole fillet knife with a blow torch. The blade should be long and thin, but not necessarily flexible.
Place your left hand flat over the lobe...
... and cut in half lengthwise in one regular stroke. The hot blade prevents the foie gras from sticking.
Lay both parts flat on the chopping board.
You can see the whole venous network.
You can judge the great quality of this liver by the absence of bruises and haematoma.
Ease the foie gently with your hands to split it a little.
Using a vegetable peeler, pinch the main vein between your thumb and the swivel...
... and pull carefully towards yourself.
Hold the foie gras with your left hand. I recommend using a peeler instead of a knife in order not to damage the lobe. The foie gras is at the perfect temperature here.
The veins are coming easily when pulling. This is a really simple deveining technique.
The main vein is now completely removed.
Repeat with the small veins scattered across the lobe.
Pull the small veins gently until all the visible veins have been removed.
No need to fiddle with it too much with a knife. This method allows you to preserve the foie gras so it remains pretty much intact. The more you damage the liver, the more it will melt during cooking.
Fill a big bowl with cold water and add ice cubes and a good pinch of salt. Place the deveined piece in the cold water.
Soaking the foie gras in iced water and salt will give it a place colour and firm consistency.
On the second halve of the big lobe, we can see the central vein.
Flip the foie gras and slice crosswise where the vein is.
Fold the liver to break it in two pieces, then rotate them as if you wanted to "unscrew" them.
You can see both pieces are maintained together by the vein.
Place the lobe on your chopping board.
Pull one half towards the other one in a delicate, regular stroke...
... to pull out the whole venous system.
Detach any bits of foie gras and place them in the cold water bowl. Do not throw anything away!
For the second half, grab the vein between the peeler and your thumb and pull towards the tip of the foie gras.
The veins should come off very easily.
All the veins from the first lobe have now been removed. Place both halves in the cold water bowl.
For the small lobe: The method is a little different for this part. Remove chunks of foie gras around the veins to release them.
We can clearly see two veins: one in the centre and one at the top.
Lift the central vein with your left hand.
Place the peeler swivel at the base of the vein...
... and clear the meat around the vein.
Continue removing the meat gently on both sides of the vein.
Repeat with the top vein.
Again, the foie gras should be at room temperature for this operation.
Once the veins are cleared, you should clearly see the venous system, like the roots of a tree.
Grab the central vein and lift upwards to detach the vein and ramifications in one stroke. Use your left hand to hold the foie gras flat.
Pull gently to detach all veins...
... in one piece.
The vein at the top should be removed last: this venous network lies underneath the central vein so it is important you follow this order.
Carefully scrape the meat around the top vein to clear the base.
Pull the vein gently...
... and remove it in one piece. This is the best method to devein the small lobe while preserving it in one piece.
Soak the foie gras in the cold water bowl for 30 minutes before use. Recipe idea: Foie gras terrine with a grape and shallot chutney.