Tammy Algood | Special to The Tennessean
I distinctly remember feeling very “adult” when I realized I actually liked pate´. I had to get past the preconceived ideas I had about how I expected it to taste. I am not sure where those thoughts came from, but I have happily put them aside for decades, and it is now a grand regular addition to kick off dinner parties.
Perhaps you are the same. I have many friends who say they don’t like it only to admit that they haven’t really tried it. It’s time to change that!
Let’s start with what it is technically. It is baked, then served either hot or cold. It can be covered with a crust before baking and called pate´ en croute, which is French for “pie,” and is usually served hot and is my favorite. Or it can be baked in a terrine and served cold either directly from the dish, which is called pate´ en terrine, or it can be unmolded, which is called simply pate´ or terrine.
The ingredients seem to be where many give it a snub before trying. Contrary to what some think, it doesn’t always contain liver. It can, but there are numerous other main ingredients that can be utilized instead. For instance, it can be centered on pork, veal, ham, chicken, turkey, game, fish, bacon or vegetables.
That opens up a realm of fun possibilities for flavor combinations. It is seasoned with fat of some kind, herbs and wine, port, cognac or other spirits. It occasionally contains truffles, which is a real treat. It is most often served as an appetizer but can also be used as a main dish, especially if wrapped in pastry.
Texture has two possibilities. I prefer those that are pureed to the point of being satiny smooth and easily spreadable. But it can also have a coarse texture, called country pate´.
You asked for it
Betsy Davidson of Dallas writes: I have been going through my family recipe box and have found some real gems. One recipe that I need help with calls for a “rasher” and I am hoping you can direct me as to what this is!
“Rasher” is an old term that is used to mean one slice of either ham or bacon. No matter which you select to use, it needs to be sliced thin.
Tammy Algood is the author of five cookbooks and can be seen on “Volunteer Gardener” on PBS stations in Tennessee. Follow her at www.hauteflavor.com.