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The Virtues of Pate: How to Serve and Enjoy Pate

What could be easier to serve than pate?  Pate is available in so many varieties and can be enjoyed in so many ways.

Let’s start with the basics.  For an elegant and tasty appetizer, serve any type of pate with a sliced fresh baguette, sliced toasted baguette, or crackers.  Let your guests serve themselves, or spread the pate on the bread or toast in advance and arrange them on a platter.  Cornichons (French for “gherkin”) are the perfect accompaniment to any type of pate.  These brined little pickles made from tiny gherkin cucumbers have the perfect combination of crunchiness and tartness, which pairs very nicely with rich meaty pates.

An elegant way to serve pate as an appetizer is to fill a tiny choux pastry or gougere with a cube of pate and arrange on a platter.  For a larger party, this is a great way to serve pate if you wish to pass it on a tray.

Pate served on toasted bread or baguette along with a large green salad makes a simple, but scrumptious lunch or small meal.  Again, cornichons make a nice addition to the plate.  For a special presentation, slice the cornichon lengthwise in four to six slices and fan them out, placing one on each piece of pate.

Pate is either smooth and mousse-like or “chunky” country style.  Either type can be used for the above serving suggestions.  Rillettes, which is shredded meat slow cooked in fat (usually made of duck, pork, goose or even rabbit), can generally be used just the same as pate.  Duck rillettes is perhaps the most common form of rillettes.

Pate en croute is pate baked in a crust as a pie or a loaf.  Though pate en croute may be served with bread, it is not necessary.  To serve Pate en croute warm, place the pate in a hot oven of about 400 degrees, for about ten minutes or until the crust is warm and golden brown.  Country style pates will hold up better in the oven.  Mousse style pate en croute should only be lightly warmed, if warmed at all.

Almost any grilled meat–beef, lamb, duck, or other fowl–pairs well with a mousse style pate such as truffle mousse.  Use mousses as you would pate de foie gras.  Top a medallion of filet mignon with a generous slice of room temperature truffle mousse.  Serve duck mousse with port wine pate with rare, sliced duck breast.  Use your imagination.  The options are endless!

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