Andignac foie gras with melon, sansho pepper and lime

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This stunning dish might sound complicated at first, but there are actually only three elements to prepare – the crusted foie gras, the sansho-seasoned melon and the fermented sake sauce. The result is a strikingly minimalist plate that combines exacting French technique with Japanese flavours.

First published in 2020




Koji and sake sauce

  • 150g of dried koji rice
  • 150g of mineral water
  • 3g of sea salt
  • 50g of sake
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 pinches of xanthan gum, or more as required


To garnish

  • sanshō leaves


  • Vacuum bag and machine
  • Hand blender
  • Mandoline
  • 2.5cm pastry cutter
  • 5cm pastry cutter
  • 7cm round cutter
  • 3.5cm round cutter
  • 6.5cm round cutter


You’ll need to start preparing the sauce a week before you plan on serving the dish to allow time for fermentation. Add the koji rice, water and salt to a vacuum bag and seal using a chamber sealer. Leave to ferment at room temperature for 6-7 days
  • 150g of dried koji rice
  • 150g of mineral water
  • 3g of sea salt
To finish the sauce, reduce the sake by half in a saucepan, then set aside to cool. Strain the fermented liquid through a chinois or fine sieve into a bowl and add the reduced sake and a little lime juice to taste. Adjust the consistency by blending in xanthan gum, adding a small pinch at a time. Set aside while you prepare the other elements.
  • 50g of sake
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 pinches of xanthan gum, or more as required
Peel the melon and, using a slicing machine or mandoline, cut into 1.5mm-thick slices. Using ring cutters, cut out 20 rounds of each of the following sizes: 2.5cm, 3.5cm, 5cm and 6.5cm. Finally, cut out 5 separate 7cm rounds
To build the layered melon domes, prepare 5 separate stacks on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.Begin by placing 4 6.5cm rounds to create the base, then season with a little sansho pepper and lime zest. Add a stack of 4 5cm rounds, season again, then add a stack of 4 3.5cm rounds. Season once more, then finish with a stack of 4 2.5cm rounds. Season one more time, then drape over one of the 7cm sheets. Each stack should have 17 layers in total (each size has 4 rounds, then you finish with a final larger round draped over). Repeat this process 4 more times, until you have 5 neat domes of melon. Cut each dome in half and set aside
  • 10g of sanshō, ground (also known as Japanese sansho pepper)
  • 1 lime, zested
When ready to begin serving, preheat an oven to 60°C. Place the melon half-domes in the oven and bring them to just above room temperature
To cook the foie gras, season each slice well and sear on both sides in a hot pan for a few minutes, then finish cooking in the oven for 3-4 minutes. Remove and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes before carving one side of the foie gras, exposing the cooked interior. Mix together the sobacha and sesame seeds to make the crumble and sprinkle on top of each slice, along with a little sea salt
When ready to plate, gently warm the sauce without boiling. Add a half-dome of melon to each plate and cover it with sansho leaves. Add a slice of foie gras, pour over the sauce, and serve
  • sanshō leaves

As a fourth-generation chef, cooking was always going to be in Hélène Darroze’s blood. Now at the helm of two Michelin-starred restaurants (one in London, one in Paris), she divides her time between the two to create inimitable dishes inspired by her southwestern roots and pushes the boundaries of what fine French cuisine can be.

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