Editor's Note: Last weekend, Belgian and French burger chain Quick offered foie gras-topped burgers at their locations in France. AHT reader Philip Lamb (aka phillamb168)—an American expat living in Paris—offered to try the burger for us and report the results. Thanks, Philip!
There's a significant precedent for putting foie gras on burgers, but to the best of my knowledge it's never been done in France and certainly never by a fast food restaurant. One might think that the French idea of noblesse du produit would have the CRS out in full riot gear at every one of the 332 Quick restaurants throughout France this past weekend for the limited release (so limited that it's already over—December 17 to 19) of the Quick Suprême Foie Gras (€5, €7.50 with fries and a drink), but thankfully they had no reason to show up.
The real item is fairly true to its advertising, thanks most likely to the simple construction and unique nature of the ingredients. The foie gras is frozen and then defrosted two hours before serving, so it holds its shape fairly well, and since this is a limited-time burger, the arugula was moving too quickly to have a chance to wilt.
The base burger is Quick's Suprême Tender Beef, which is a more expensive (€7.50 for a value meal compared to an average of €5.95 for the other offerings) and heavier (150 grams/5 ounces) burger than their traditional burger. I ordered one of them naked to get a good idea for the basic flavor profile. The beef flavor was there, but It had a more gamey taste than the traditional Quick burger, along with a very pronounced metallic note, which I would normally attribute to the overuse of brisket in the burger blend. As a plain burger it really wasn't very good.
Once I tasted the burger with toppings, though, I understood: The patty is designed to handle high-octane toppings. The foie gras version comes with bitter arugula, a generous (really—about 40 grams/1.5 ounces!) helping of bloc de foie gras, and onion confit. There's a lot of competing flavor in those ingredients, and in this case the burger's aforementioned gamey-ness really filled in the gaps. The first bite was more complex than any other fast food burger I've ever tasted. First came the sweetness of the onion confit, which by itself would have been cloying but quickly shifted as the foie gras began to come through. It was buttery, smooth and thanks to the gamey beef, was not overpowering. The arugula added a slight bitter note that really brought everything together.
The only negative would be the texture of the patty, which showed signs of having been reheated a few times. But still, the flavors shone through. I have never before had a fast food burger from a major chain this good.
About the Author: Philip Lamb is a Drupal developer working in Paris, previously of New York City and Chicago, and originally of Arkansas. He's cooked practically everything Kenji has ever posted with the most recent exception of venison, and has been brewing his own beer for two years. Since moving to France, whenever he gets homesick for something he figures out a way to make it. Most recently this was a Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark clone.
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