Culinary adventurers, we’ve got something really exceptional for you. Please welcome this month’s Hungarian delicacy, libamáj, an easy but fancy dish that will wow your guests. You might be familiar with French gastronomy’s well-known specialty, foie gras (goose liver) which is a bit different from our beloved appetizer, but the preparation process is essentially the same. Although terrine and pâté are very popular, this time we introduce our pan seared goose liver to you. Follow the step-by-step instructions below and create the perfect starter!
500 gr fat goose liver, 500 gr fatty goose skin, 1 onion, a small amount of water, salt and ground pepper to taste
Clean, and devein the liver if necessary. It is a little bit of a messy job: first, separate the lobes then take out the veins. To do so, try to move away the flesh without breaking it up too much, and follow the vein with your finger gently pulling it up. Remove any discolorations (green and bloody areas) with a knife. The searing process will get rid of most of the veins, so you don’t have to be very thorough. Note: it’s best if goose liver is at room temperature before you start the process. To achieve a nice, light color after searing, rest it sliced in cold milk or water for about an hour. Now clean the fatty skin and carefully dry it with a paper towel. Cut it into pieces, dice the onion, and put them in a frying pan to render the fat. (It takes approximately half an hour.)
Now drain the grease, pour it into a searing pan and place the seasoned liver on top. Heat the skillet and simmer the goose liver scored-side-down, covered until done. Note: you should put the biggest piece into the pan first, because it takes longer to cook. Gently swirl the pan every few seconds. To test if it is ready, take a fork or a toothpick and poke the top of each slice slightly in the middle. Cook until browned and crisp on the outside. You can serve it both hot and cold, on a piece of fresh bread or next to a zesty salad.
The crisp acidity and citrusy flavour of the traditional sparkling wines from the Etyek-Buda wine region enhance the richness of the greasy dish.
Let’s Get Goosy – The City’s Best Foie Gras Restaurants
Foie gras is unlike most luxury foods. As the world’s second largest goose liver producer, we Hungarians have kind of fell in love with the buttery delicacy, so much so that from time to time you can even find it on the menu at the Hungarian establishments of the world’s most renowned fast food franchise. Even so, good foie gras is hard to find. Lucky for you, we have the name of the best restaurants to get your stomach full of the fancy stuff – and we are not afraid to show it!
Operating inside the luxurious New York Palace since the spring of 2010, Salon Restaurant blends together turn-of-the-century opulence with the tastiest inventions of contemporary culinary arts. The exclusive venue’s kitchen is helmed by chef András Wolf, whose main aim when coming up with the menu was to translate the flavours of classic Hungarian dishes into the new wave language of essence cooking, providing our senses with newfound shapes, textures and serving types. Salon welcomes guests with staples like foie gras with grape and mango, venison with lentils and prunes, and pumpkin soup, topped with crayfish and caviar. In case you’re feeling in a gourmet mood, opt for the seven- or four-course menus, or choose the vegetarian selection!
1073 Budapest, Erzsébet krt. 9-11.
Situated inside a building which was designed by legendary Hungarian architect József Hild, and had once housed a luxurious hotel, Tigris Restaurant and Winebar focuses its attention on traditional Hungarian flavours, an excellent assortment of wines from Gere Winery, and foie gras, which has its very own menu subsection. Offered with garnishes such as chamomile jelly and apricot caviar, mangalica ham and paprika, truffle, plum and dark chocolate, whatever fancy-looking goose liver specialty you choose, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be melt-in-your-mouth delicious! And if you really want to have a culinary blowout, ask for the roasted foie gras, with cottage cheese pie side, coffee, and Turkish hazelnut.
1051 Budapest, Mérleg utca 10.
Located in Pest’s Ferencváros neighbourhood, on green and tranquil Ferenc tér, Petrus is halfway between a Parisian bistro and the kitchen of your Hungarian grandmother, both in its dishes and interior design. The homely venue (recommended by the Michelin Guide for its simple yet skilful cooking) offers rustic-looking, unpretentious comfort food like vegetable stews and Schnitzel, with a couple of mouth-watering specialities, like foie gras au torchon (the goose liver is wrapped in a cloth while being cooked, stopping all the fat from leeching out during poaching), snails with foie gras velouté, and octopus with chorizo. For the complete French-style dining experience, make a reservation for the Citroen 2CV, placed in the centre of the restaurant.
1094 Budapest, Ferenc tér 2-3.
Surrounded by the family-friendly green calmness of Buda’s Hegyvidék area, Vendéglő a KisBíróhoz is one of four Budapest restaurants run by Lajos Bíró, the famously inventive chef. The cosy venue offers peacetime dishes, tweaked-up classics, and a biweekly changing selection of seasonal specialties – what’s common between all of them are the domestically produced ingredients, and the visually pleasing way the meals are served. Here you can get your goosey cravings satisfied by a 3-piece foie gras sushi or a sizable goose liver served cold in its own fat, but you can also opt for a lighter choice in the form of pike perch fillet garnished with vegetarian stuffed paprika.
1125 Budapest, Szarvas Gábor út 8/d
As its name suggests, at downtown’s Aszú Restaurant everything revolves around the pride of Tokaj, Hungary’s most treasured wine specialty. The ornate, vaulted interior, complete with a mirrored wall and handcrafted wooden carvings, provides guests with a striking backdrop for their culinary exploits, but Aszú’s long summer terrace is also a great choice when the weather permits its use. The restaurant’s kitchen puts the emphasis on beloved Hungarian dishes, updated in accordance with 21th century tastes. From Hortobágyi meat pancakes to goose liver cream with aszú jelly, grape salad and olive powder, Aszú Restaurant presents our taste buds with a wide variety of flavours just a couple of minutes’ walk from St. Stephen’s Basilica.
1051 Budapest, Sas utca 4.
What started as a simple buffet in 1996 is now one of the last, as well as one of the most popular family-owned restaurants in Budapest. Rosenstein serves the creme de la creme of traditional Jewish and Hungarian cuisines: a meal at Rosenstein feels more like Sunday supper at your grandma’s house, rather than a hearty culinary experience at Budapest’s most distinguished Jewish restaurant. Here, at this self-professed “island of tranquillity” (the words of the venue’s legendary owner, Tibor Rosenstein), you can recharge your spiritual batteries while feasting on their pan-fried foie gras in Tokaj sauce, a rich twist on the scrumptious delicacy. Complement the dish with a glass of nice Hungarian wine from their extensive list to make your evening even more unforgettable!
1087 Budapest, Mosonyi u. 3.
Located In the heart of Budapest by the Chain Bridge, one of the most attractive modern wine ’n’ dine establishments of the city awaits you: Spoon The Boat is a 75 meters long three-decker docked boat with a unique interior design. Spoon ensures a unique gastronomic experience for all the guests who are looking for a place that satisfies their daily nutrition needs while enjoying the monumental panorama of the lit-up Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge. Two restaurants, two huge panoramic open terraces, a convertible winter garden, and 5 bars guarantee comfort and relaxation, in the company of dishes such as foie gras cake with pistachio sponge cake, apricot and lavender, calamarata with Sicilian pesto and king prawns, and floating island with chocolate.
1052 Budapest, Vigadó tér 3-as kikötő
With the eponymous food item in its name, where else would you find Macesz Bistro than in the heart of Pest’s Jewish District? Situated within walking distance from the world-famous Szimpla and the equally renowned Dohány street synagogue, Macesz Bistro balances on the line between old and new, serving a palatable mixture of Jewish and Hungarian dishes, as well as a decent wine selection, aimed at those who are looking for a nice place to kickstart their evening before heading out to one of the district’s many ruin bars. Since goose is the most prominent meat in Jewish cooking, you’ll find plenty of dishes centred around the waterfowl, including foie gras paté with pear and thyme, stuffed goose neck with pearl barley, and boiled millet with goose giblets.
1072 Budapest, Dob utca 26.
The Nagymező utca bite bar offers a modern bistro-style cuisine with a Hungarian twist, and a heavy emphasis on pork dishes. Working only with first-rate ingredients (sourced mainly from domestic producers), chef Péter András Békési came up with a clear-cut, seasonal, and playful menu, which includes fundamental favourites like the goose liver terrine (served in pumpernickel coating with wild mushroom mousse and red onion jam), braised pork neck with apple cider glaze garnished with potato hash browns and carrot purée, and more than a dozen of delicious brunch items, ranging from American-style pancakes to Eggs Benedict and Philadelphia cheese steak sandwich.
1063 Budapest, Nagymező utca 19.
The opulent Andrássy út eatery was founded by a couple with decades’ worth of experience in the catering industry in 2013, and since then has become a true shining pearl of the culinary arts in this gastronomically rather dubious area. Awaiting guests with a luscious garden, a modern, laid-back interior design, a classy cocktail corner, and a complimentary glass of lavender-caviar champagne, the kitchen of La Perle Noire offers a highly innovative menu that draws heavily on French, Hungarian and Asian cuisines. For the ultimate fine dining experience, check out their mouthwatering menu and order whatever you desire (for instance fennel hummus with marinated mushrooms and pumpkin seed powder, duck liver velouté, or grilled duck liver). Your taste buds will thank you!
1063 Budapest, Andrássy út 111.
Far away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, in the heart of Buda, Vadrózsa Restaurant attracts guests with a nice winter garden, ornate private rooms suited for special occasions and company dinners, and tasteful furbishing, making the prestigious venue one of the most glorious restaurants of the Hungarian culinary scene. The cuisine caters to lovers of traditional Hungarian and modern kitchen technologies, including the epic goose liver trilogy, comprised of cold goose liver, grilled goose liver, and goose liver brulée.
1025 Budapest, Pentelei Molnár utca 15.