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Monday, June 14, 2010

Pâté for every occasion

Last month my friend and frequent cooking companion moved away to open a deli and a restaurant with some talented people in Madison, WI. As a final kitchen project before the move, we decided to make a classic pâté en croute from Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie. It consisted of a pork tenderloin seared in clarified butter then wrapped in a spiced sausage we made ourselves from grinding pork shoulder and belly fat. This was then wound in prosciutto, folded over neatly with a decorative pastry crust, and finally baked off in a terrine dish. Though to some (me) it may seem a bit gratuitous porkgasm, it presented beautifully as a perfectly appropriate addition to the spread at the sendoff party. Unfortunately, no photos were taken to document the making of it. (bad food blogger)

Adding to the tragedy, the very next day I received the Daring Cook's challenge:

Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pâté with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pâté recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

Oh snap! Why did I not take pictures?!

Fortunately, another good pâté-eating opportunity (my birthday party!) was on my radar. This time around I chose to make a colorful, veg-friendly version that included roasted red peppers, white beans, and pesto. This recipe may be the simplest prep I've ever presented on this blog. It takes under 20 minutes to assemble, which involves opening several jars of good quality pantry reserves and mixing in a couple of best quality feta and ricotta cheeses. Super easy! Beautiful presentation! And, if you do well sourcing ingredients, amazing flavor! Exactly the sort of effort-little dish worth preparing in a time crunch.

Though we miss our friend, I don't think anyone missed not having pork in the pâté this time around. The platter was wiped clean before the end of the evening! With that sort of compliment, this just might be my go-to recipe for future events.

Tricolor Vegetable Pâté

Red Pepper Layer
1 7-ounce jar roasted red bell peppers, drained, chopped (I used a tapenade mix imported from Italy and available from Zingerman's that contained eggplant, olives, artichoke, mushrooms and peppers.)
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)

White Bean Layer
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed, drained thoroughly
½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon minced fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
2 garlic cloves, pressed

Pesto Layer
(Fresh basil was not yet available at my farmer's market; I used a jar of prepared pesto made by a nearby company instead of mixing from scratch)
2 garlic cloves
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup ricotta cheese, drained well

Good Food in Jars, Cans & Packages Makes Prep a Breeze:

Line an 8½ x 4½-inch pâté mold or loaf pan with plastic wrap overlapping sides.

For Red Pepper Layer:
Combine peppers and feta in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spread pepper mixture evenly on bottom of prepared pan.

For Bean Layer:
Mash beans in large bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and garlic and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread bean mixture evenly over red pepper layer in prepared dish.

For Pesto Layer:
Mince garlic in processor. Add basil, parsley and pine nuts and mince. With machine running, gradually add oil through feed tube and process until smooth. Mix in ricotta. Spread pesto evenly over bean layer.

Cover with the overlapping ends of the plastic wrap to seal. Cut a piece of cardboard ¼ inch smaller on all sides than the tops of the loaf pan and place directly on top of plastic-covered pâté. Put 2-3 pounds of weight (heavy cans) on top of this and refrigerate overnight to firm for easy slicing. To unmold, invert pâté onto a serving platter. Peel off plastic wrap from pâté. Serve with a sliced baguette.

1 comment:

sweet sukha said...

This was beautiful and delicious Olivia--perfect party food-- and it's good to have a recipe or two that can be whipped up pretty easily 'cause you got everything you need in the pantry. I'll be happy to eat it any time you want to make it again!