Le Pique-Nique

le pique-nique
Le Pique-Nique

Poached Duck Foie Gras au Torchon
Pistachio Crust, Pickled Bing Cherries, Lemon Curd
Lavender Fleur de Sel, Pink Peppercorns

Arugula & Mint Salad, French Baguette

duck foie gras au torchon

“The great thing about foie gras is that it’s foie gras…

You don’t have to do anything to it. It’s a luxury on its own,
and your job is to try to make it show what it really is.”

— Thomas Keller

Foie Gras au Torchon

What is served cold and completely overindulgent? Poached Duck Foie Gras au Torchon.

A whole lobe of duck liver is wrapped in the same muslin torchon in which it had been poached.

Torchon means “dish towel” in French,
and is the perfect vehicle for transporting foie gras to le pique-nique. 

Simply remove the torchon and slice the foie gras into discs, then roll the edges in pistachio nuts.

Lavender Fleur de Sel

roses and lavender
I mixed fleur de sel with dried lavender buds, then added a few fresh lavender flowers from my garden.

Lavender Fleur de Sel

A few grains of lavender salt sit atop the slices of foie gras. Are we in Provence yet?

Foie Gras au Torchon

With expert instruction from Thomas Keller, the dish is minimally garnished.

Chopped pistachios cling to the outer layer of duck fat while tart pickled cherries and
sweet lemon curd add balance.

Pink peppercorns picked right off the tree harmonize with the lavender salt.

Arugula and mint are tossed with a little olive oil and add fresh bright earthy notes. It is extraordinary. Really.

pistachio crusted foie gras

The cold torchon is gently warmed by the sun. Now this is certainly picnic food!

Hold it in your mouth and let it melt on the tongue. Exquisitely creamy. Pure bliss.

It’s served with a French baguette and gluten-free breadsticks for my gluten-free friend.


Thomas Keller’s Pickled Cherry Recipe

24 bing cherries

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

1/4 c. water

1/4 c. sugar

pickled bing cherries

Place cherries,vinegar, water, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Immediately remove from heat.

Cool the cherries then refrigerate them in the pickling liquid for a few hours, or up to several days.


foie gras picnic

Bieler Pere et Fils Rosé, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence and Sweet Botrytis Sémillon

A pink wine to quaff in the bright picnic sun, a sweet sémillon to mimic a Sauternes.

Foie Gras au Torchon

Disarmingly delectable, it’s time to indulge!

Creative Cooking Crew Picnic

le pique-nique

The Creative Cooking Crew is a group of 24 innovative food bloggers hosted by
Laz of Lazaro Cooks! and Joan of FOODalogue.

Each month brings a new culinary challenge with a round-up of all the entries posted at the end of the month. Although there is no real judging and the challenges are all just for fun, we take pride in sharing our entries, pushing our culinary limits.


 “We’re going on a picnic and I’m bringing …”


May’s challenge is a picnic potluck. Everyone brings a dish and our host Joan will set the table with all the offerings in the round-up on her blog here.

We’ll put our creative spin on a traditional picnic item, a family favorite, or we’ll create a gourmet picnic item just in time for readers to get ideas for upcoming Memorial Day picnics.

And be sure to check out the Creative Cooking Crew’s PINTEREST BOARD here for colorful inspiration!

26 thoughts on “Le Pique-Nique”

  1. So beautifully illustrated. Foie gras deserves no less than Thomas Keller quotes and LL styling. I love the lemon curd and pickled cherry balance(s) to the super rich, super delicious foie gras. And the post title is just too precious!!

    1. Merci Joan – and I just cannot believe that you are bring foie gras to the picnic too. YAY!
      Hot. Cold. Heaven.
      One day we have got to cook together…

  2. You have created an elegant and beautiful pique-nique. I have to admit though, that while I love fois gras, I gave up eating it once I visited a farm in Brussels where the geese were raised for fois gras. I felt sorry for the poor animals and their abysmal living conditions.

    1. Thank you Linda – I can completely understand. I would never buy foie gras from a company who raised the ducks/geese inhumanely. There are good farmers out there too. Lots of controversy on the issue. Thanks for your comment.

  3. This is surely a picnic to remember! I literally wish I could just jump into your stunning pictures, LL. I love your picnic dish too – the pairings you made sound exquisite!

  4. You have outdone yourself. I love Thomas Keller. The salt is brilliant. A friend of mine shared a floral salt she got out in the Hamptons. They had stopped making it so I bought all the flowers in the mix and did up a batch for her… it had rose and cornflower as well as the lavender and I just love it so I know how fabulous yours would be. Cherries are great too. Picnics can be elegant and yours surely is… just like the plein aire delights of 19th c French paintings. Photos are spectacular too!!

  5. SO beautiful. I am always curious to know how you plan a photoshoot like this. You start styling and changing this up, or you draw and plan everything ahead of time? I think I’d spend more than a day if I have to come up with this gorgeous setting!

  6. Lori as usual beathtaking and I want to come to your Le Pique-Nique. Foie gras could be eaten by me every day and never tire…but then my waist would be a tire….

  7. oh my gosh what a beautiful picnic dish! i actually have some bing cherries in the fridge, i’ve never thought to pickle them – i am totally trying this out!

  8. LL, you’ve outdone yourself with the dish and photo styling, looks absolutely gorgeous. Am loving the colours of the lavender salt with the pistachios! Very fancy schmancy pic a nic, not for your average bear! PS: Do you REALLY picnic with all of your china? How do you transport with out chipping? (asks the girl that schleps her culinary crap for a living and has converted to melamine!)

  9. Breath taking! I am so happy I found you. Having Tin Chef in our KS home soon……..that will be my first course! Thanks for the inspiration!

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