Is serving chateaubriand with foie gras on top like gilding a lily? For many foodies, chateaubriand is the very best beef you can eat. Equally, foie gras is often considered the very epitome of rich food.
Is putting the two together wrong?
Based on the lunch I had at the Au Fil de l’Eau restaurant in Couze, in the Dordogne, a couple of weeks ago, the answer is a clear no. In fact, I would go so far as to say it was one of the best meals I have had in a long time. The beef came served rare – just how I like it – and the fried foie gras melted in the mouth.
We had the dish as part of a long lunch with friends to celebrate my partner Damon’s birthday.
There are two theories about the origins of chateaubriand. The first is simply that the meat is a tenderloin fillet from cattle raised in the town of Châteaubriant, in the Loire-Atlantique department. The second is that the cut is named after the Viscount François-René de Chateaubriand, whose personal chef created the dish.
Note the different spellings – with a circumflex and a ‘t’ at the end in one case, and no circumflex and a ‘d’ at the end in the other.
Whatever its origins, chateaubriand is a first-rate dish, and certainly appropriate for a birthday meal.