Paté — and I don’t mean fois gras — is always welcomed when I serve it as a party treat. I associate good times with paté and I am very often reminded of a hilarious scene in the film “Funny Girl” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU6DqMyFDOU) where Omar Shariff is trying to seduce Barbra Streisand with chic ‘foreign’ food and wine to which she is clearly unaccustomed. And to Omar’s inviting question “A bit of paté?”, Barbra’s nervous catch-in-her-throat answer is, “uh uhum … I drink it all day!”
It’s easy enough to buy paté but why not make some yourself one day? The following is loosely based on Allan Bay’s recipe in “Cuochi si diventa” (“Becoming a Cook”) and is the only one I know (except for chicken liver paté – but that can be for another post).
You will need: 400g liver (preferably calf but pork or cow’s liver will do too), 100g of pancetta, 150g of butter (cut up into 50g e 100g), 1 onion, 2 bay leaves, 2-4 juniper berries, 150 ml cream. You will also need: 1 glass of sweet wine, a handful of pistachios, and some red pepper berries.
The first thing to do is chop the onion roughly and sweat it in 50g butter (it must not turn brown), then set aside.
There is the pancetta on the left. And the bay leaves, the juniper berries and the glass of vinsanto (sweet, dessert wine).
Here is the liver and you can see that there is a pair of scissors at the top of the plate. I used the scissors to cut it up into pieces …. you might prefer a knife.
Roughly cut the pancetta too and then mash it up in a food processor.
And now we can begin. Place the cut up liver and the mashed up pancetta into the pan with the sweated onions and turn on the heat.
Add the bay leaves and the juniper berries. Cook everything on a gentle heat for 10-12 minutes (you don’t want to overcook the liver).
The liver will change colour, it will turn paler.
Now add the sweet wine and turn the heat up until the alcohol evaporates (about another 2-3 minutes). Switch the heat off.
Remove the bay leaves and the juniper berries. Add salt and pepper (white pepper is better for this recipe).
Allow everything to cool a little and then add 100g of butter to the mix and place in a food processor.
Process until smooth.
Beat the cream with an electric whisk until it thickens and doubles in size basically.
Fold the whipped cream into the processor.
Process again until all the cream has mixed properly into the paté. Taste. Add salt and pepper if required.
Transfer the paté into a dish.
Sprinkle the red peppers lavishly.
Add the pistachios.
A close-up. Leave to cool and set in the fridge for at least three hours.
Place the lid on the paté dish.
P.S. Another great advantage about this recipe is that the paté can be frozen. Thus, you can make it in advance.