Foie gras is frozen and sprinkled like confetti over this dish at The Blanchard
In the continuing chorus of first-world problems can be heard groans about the ordeal of confronting too much foie gras, a ubiquitous starter at high-end boîtes. Cue violins.
Foie gras, fattened goose or duck liver, is delicious, but so rich it's hard to eat when served in outsized lobes. Boohoo, right?
New chef Ryan Burns at The Blanchard dials down the liver's spectacular lushness by cooking, freezing and then micro-shaving the luscious organ over goat's-milk custard, a dish he calls his copeaux de foie gras ($16).
"With the copeaux," he says, "balance is built in layers."
At the bottom is the custard, scented with vanilla, "very much like steamed milk on cappuccino," Burns says.
Then there's rhubarb poached in a syrup of rosé, to add acidity, and a topping of herbs and flowers to add flavor and texture. Shaving on a small portion of the foie treats the luxurious food as a condiment, one complementary taste among many.
The First World, sighing with beleaguered relief, digs in.
The Blanchard, 1935 N. Lincoln Park West, 872-829-3971, www.theblanchardchicago.com
David Hammond is a freelance writer.