Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pistachio and pepper paté

I may cook certain dishes quite often, but seldom in the same way. I devise new ones, or alter familiar recipes to either simplify or improve them. When this happens, and I am pleased, the recipe, alterations, or perhaps timings, get written down on any old piece of paper that’s handy. This one for a paté I made and took to a party in Bruges was good but a bit bland. So it was re-made from reading my original rough and barely legible notes and here altered and recorded properly.


You will need:

Whole grain or granary bread (three slices)

Pistachio nut kernels (3 tablespoons)

Green peppercorns (1 teaspoon)

White wine and Calvados (or another spirit – containing aniseed if you like it)

Pepper and salt

Parsley, chives and mint (any or all)

Minced pork (300 grams and a bit fatty)


Cut off the crusts from three slices of whole grain or granary bread and, with the fingers. Work them into breadcrumbs in a large bowl.

Pour off any surplus liquid left from the 24 hour plus marinating of the pistachio kernels and peppercorns in white wine. Liquid will be absorbed, so add more to keep them covered.

Add the drained kernels and peppercorns, salt and plenty of milled black pepper to the breadcrumbs.

Chop up fresh herbs, like parsley, or chives, or mint, or all.

Having buttered your paté dish with a large lump, cut the remainder into the smallest possible pieces and add these.

Now put in the 300 grams of minced pork and, with the fingers (like making the breadcrumbs) work it all together for an even blend. The mixture will be slightly tacky.

Finally, using a wooden spoon, stir in a beaten egg to which you have added a good slosh of Calvados.

Put all this into the buttered paté dish (my favourite takes the form of a green duck with yellow beak, bought in the 1950s in Rouen with duck paté inside).

Put the lidded paté dish in a baking tray and surround it with boiling water to about half way up the pot (a bain-marie), and give it 1½ hours in a medium oven, taking the lid off for the last 15 minutes or so to dry out the upper surface. Check during the cooking that the water has not evaporated, topping up with boiling water if necessary.

Allow the paté to cool before eating it with crusty bread.

Note: Omitting the peppercorns and Calvados will make a mild paté, more to the taste, possibly, of children.