When we think of pâté, we usually associate it with luxury. In truth, not too many people know what pâté is, except that it is expensive and limited to duck or chicken liver. However, pâté does not necessarily have to be prepared only with poultry. It does not also necessarily have to be served for the wealthy. It is much less complicated to make than one can imagine and is an excellent starter dish for dinner parties or more fancy dining at home. You can serve it either hot or chilled, though refrigerated a few days allow it to be even more flavourful.
More commonly, pâté is prepared with liver and combined with various spices and wine, simmered until it takes on a spreadable consistency. This dish has variations, and you may use parts of chicken, fish, pork to create it. You may even use veggies if you are looking for a healthier and lighter version. The following recipe uses spinach for a delicious pate starter.
Spinach pâté starter
3 10 oz packs of frozen spinach, chopped and thawed
1 bunch green onions sliced thinly
¼ cup butter
2 large carrots shredded
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup half-and-half
1 tsp basil
Dash of cayenne pepper according to taste
Carrot flowers for garnish (optional)
- Place the spinach into a coriander and press with a wooden spoon to remove moisture. Once done, use your hands to wring out whatever moisture is left on the leaves before chopping them finely.
- Grease an 8 ½” by 4 ½” loaf pan well, lining the bottom with foil. Using a 2-quart saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots, cooking until tender while stirring frequently. This should take about 5 minutes. Add the spinach into the mixture along with the half-and-half, basil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Heat the pan to boiling. Once done, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the eggs. Place the mixture into the loaf pan, evenly spreading it out and cover with foil.
- Place the loaf pan in a 13” by 9” baking pan, filled with hot water that comes up to about an inch on the loaf pan’s sides. Bake mixture in 375°F oven for about 1 ¼ hour or until your knife comes clean when inserted into the foil’s center. Allow the pâté to cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, placing 2 heavy cans over the pan to weigh it down. Keep refrigerated overnight.
- Before serving, remove cans and cover. Loosen the pâté using a metal spatula. Invert the pan over a platter and lift it off. You may cut the dish into slices and add garnishing on top.
The traditional liver pâté has health benefits that include iron and vitamin A. For those who prefer vegetables instead, spinach is a rich source of nutrients that are essential for the skin and the bones, along with other vitamins and minerals for overall well-being. The dish itself is delicious and is an excellent and light appetizer to start you off before a more substantial main course ahead.