Pâté The Reason For It At Your Next Party
When most people think of Pâté they probably think of Fois Gras. While it is true Fois Gras Mousse is a Pâté, it’s generally considered a separate entity. At it’s root, Pâté is just the French word for paste, and while it is generally made from liver, it can be made from a mix of many other things as well. In this article I aim to show that Pâté is not just a delicacy one tries when traveling Europe, but something that can be easily made for your next party.
Charcuterie boards have been getting all the hype recently, and you’ve probably been to many parties with one as the focus. If you really want to do something for the wow factor, try making a spread of Pâté with different breads.
In this article:
Pâté: The Basics
If you want to go traditional French or Belgian, start with boiled or baked liver (pork, unless you are making Fois Gras mousse) and mash it up with herbs and spices. You can turn it into an extremely fine paste, or leave it a bit chunky and more rustic. If you want, you can form it into a mold and bake it. This is known as Pâté de Terrine.
However, the idea of a liver spread is not just limited to France and Belgium. Liver and Onions is a popular Ashkenazi Jewish dish popular in Eastern Europe (Russia and Ukraine) and that is essentially just a paste of chicken/goose/duck livers mashed with onions.
In Central Europe they have Liverwurst (an American bastardization of the German leberwurst) which is essentially liver paste in a sausage form.
Forcemeat is not a name that sounds like an appetizing dish, but surprisingly it is just a less rigid name for ground meats pressed into a form. It comes from the French word farcir, which means To Force and is basically any sort of meat and fat ground or minced or pureed, and pressed into a form. If you’ve had a sausage, you’ve had forcemeat.
All Pâté is free-form, or unpressed forcemeat, however one of the most popular ways to serve Pâté is wrapped in dough and baked. This is known as Pâté en Croute, or simply a pie.
If you would like to learn how to make various baked dishes using forcemeat, I would recommend Pâté, Confit, Rillette: Recipes from the Craft of Charcuterie by Brian Polcyn
Pâté Spread For A Party:
The most important thing when planning a party is knowing your guests. You do not want to serve dishes you know people are allergic to, or morally against. As long as everyone is willing to try it, a Pâté Platter can be a good way to showcase a dozen different flavors and up your hors d’ouevre game to the next level.
If I am making Pâté for a garden party I like to allocate each flavor to their own ramekin. 10 flavors, 10 ramekins. Ass always I use my Emile Henry Ramekins since they are my absolute favorites. This allows the paste to be easily spread and adds a little nicer touch than just putting them in a Tupperware container. I’ll slice up a loaf or two of French bread to border the table and then each ramekin gets its own butter knife so guests can easily spread their choice with no cross-contamination.
In this list there are 10 variations I like, and while they aren’t ‘authentic’ if you are a stickler for tradition, they all make an excellent option with some crusty French bread and a sprinkle of salt. I recommend Maldon Salt Flakes as their large surface area is great for hitting those taste receptors.
10 Recipes To Try:
The image featured above shows a loaf of French Bread with 10 different spreads. While I am of the belief that recipe creation is an art, and people should be able to do whatever they want, here are 10 simple recipes to try out for your next party.
Goat Cheese with Pear
A 50/50 mix by weight of goat cheese and minced pear. Be sure to squeeze the excess liquid from the pear out through a cheese-cloth or the spread will be too runny.
Trout that has been marinated in Olive Oil and herbs for at least 2 hours (preferably up to 24). Mashed together between two forks to create a rustic paste.
Egg, Onion, Comté
A 50/10/40 by weight blend of hard boiled eggs, chopped onions, and comté cheese. Mash with a fork to your desired consistency.
Cheese with Spring Onion
You can choose any soft cheese for this one, as it’s meant to be the least divisive of all the spreads. I like a 50/50 mix of cream cheese and soft Manchego, but you can customize it however you like.
Tomato Paste with Prosciutto
This one is pretty self explanatory.
Bryndza with Walnuts
Bryndza is a Romanian sheep’s milk cheese with a strong tang. It is popular all over Central and Eastern Europe, and pairs well with fatty nuts such as walnuts. Mash this one to a fine paste to achieve optimal consistency.
An extremely simple Pâté of just Tuna. You can honestly just take canned albacore and mash it into a rough paste.
Marinated Lard with Green Onion
Marinated Lard is not popular in America, but it is an extremely delicious and rich appetizer in Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine. It is known as Salo, and is basically just the fat part of Pork Belly. It can be eaten cured or marinated but in this case it’s best just mashed up with some Green Onion.
Duck Liver Pâté
This, of course, is a more traditional Pâté most people would expect. You can mince the cooked liver, but I like to use a sieve to achieve a smooth, creamy texture.
Chicken with Mushrooms
A 50/50 mix of boiled-shredded dark meat chicken, and butter sauteed mushrooms mashed into a rustic paste. This is the second richest Pâté on this list, only with the Duck Liver being more decadent.
If you are planning a garden party, you can be sure that a Pâté spread will not be soon forgotten. It is not just because of the richness of meat+fat, but because there are so many fun variations. There can be vegetarian ones using Cheese. Pescatarian ones with Fish. And of course the classic liver.
Being part of an hors d’ouevre table means you should also have other (vegetable and cheese) things for guests to try, after all, bread+meat+fat is quite filling. I recommend pickled things, to help cut the richness of the meats. Some good choices are:
Cornichons (small gherkins, in keeping with the French theme)
Below are a list of my recommended accessories for making your next party with Pâté a roaring success.
Salt Pig (Same brand as the Ramekins, so the colors will match)
Bread Cutting Board (perfect for making even sized diagonals)
What Do You Think Of This Pâté Article?
If there was anything confusing about this list, or anything you think I should add, please comment down below and let me know! I’m a big fan of Pâté at parties I throw, but if you weren’t convinced let me know why!