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Cooking with Hannibal: Coquilles



Hannibal and his fancy, fancy coffee maker

When a friend turns up at your house at the crack of dawn, you don’t give them instant coffee…at least not if you’re Hannibal Lecter. So when tortured soul and FBI profiler Will shows up at his house after a sleep walking incident, Hannibal whips out his fancy, fancy coffee maker to prepare a morning cup of joe. Unless you’re a history buff or coffee geek, you probably haven’t see a Balancing Siphon Coffee Maker before. It was invented in the 1850s (although early versions popped up in the 1840s, sans patent) as the double globe coffee maker fell out of favor. Basically, a siphon tube connects two canisters, one containing coffee and the other water. A lamp heats the water, which then percolates into the coffee canister and brews. As the two canisters balance, the lamp goes out. The brewed coffee is then vacuumed back into the first canister through a filter, and then can be dispensed using a spigot into a coffee cup. For instructions on how to brew using one of these, click here. They are not cheap, but then again, an electric coffee maker is quite an investment too. 


Cold Foie Gras Torchon with Late Harvest Vidal Sauce, Dried Figs, Warm Fresh Figs, and Blackberries

When Hannibal hosts the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit chief Jack and his wife Bella for dinner, he whips up a cold foie gras torchon. Bella is offended because of the supposed cruelty of foie gras and asks to be excused. If you’re really worried about animal cruelty, mass produced chickens and eggs are some of the worst culprits in the country, and affect a far greater proportion of the US population than the ducks or geese used for foie gras, which is essentially a specialty product. All of this is rather moot, since Hannibal’s foie gras is likely from a source other than ducks or geese! He claims to get his meat from an “ethical butcher” which is an interesting term for himself, a serial killer. Not sure sustainable and ethical butchery is set back or advanced by Hannibal being in their corner!


Cold Foie Gras Torchon with Late Harvest Vidal Sauce, Dried Figs, Warm Fresh Figs, and Blackberries

If you want to try out a recipe for Foie Gras Torchon, I’ve found Michael Ruhlman‘s adaptation from The French Laundry Cookbook to be a good guide, and gives extensive information on cooking methods, ratios and why to avoid sous vide for this recipe. If you just want to ogle some gorgeous sketches of this dish, see food stylist Janice Poon’s post on this episode. 

We never see the “pork” shank that Hannibal says is coming later in the meal for Jack and Bella, but one of my favorite pork dinners for slow cook cuts like shank is an overnight roast, like this Jamie Oliver recipe.


About francoiseeats

I'm currently working as a freelance travel and food writer, and photographer. I spent two years at, the culinary on-line magazine for the industry insider. My articles have been published in New York, NY and Richmond, VA. After graduating from Columbia University and recovering from the tragedy of not being able to read Camus books for a living, I attended The Culinary Institute of America, where my scone consumption rose drastically. Fluent in French and Italian, I've worked in some of New York's top restaurants and covered food-related stories in a number of publications, from The Richmond Times-Dispatch to Time Out New York.

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