Pate is a French dish that is often associated with wealth and extravagance. It’s a staple appetizer that completes a dinner party, much like caviar does.
This gourmet chopped liver dish is served raw, cooked, cold, or hot. The possibilities of preparing and serving this dish are truly endless. However, many people are not aware of this dish, and when they hear about it, they often ask, “what in the world is pate?”
What is pate?
Pate is a French word for “paste,” and that’s exactly what the dish is. Pate is a paste made from ground seafood, poultry, meat, vegetables, and several other ingredients. The most popular type of meat used in a pate is pig meat.
Its texture can range from being thin and smooth to chunky, depending on the ingredients you use to make it.
Meanwhile, pate can be served on its own, or be cooked or baked in a vessel or crust, which is often known as the terrine or ‘pate en croute’- meaning in a crust.
What does pate taste like?
Since pate is made with meat, the pate flavor can be best described as highly flavorful with sweet notes. However, for the most part, the dish’s taste largely varies depending on what is included in pate.
The taste of traditional pate can be compared to that of cream of mushroom soup. When you taste pate, the texture is creamy, much like butter with tiny chunks of meat. For that reason, it’s typically used as a spread on top of toast and various kinds of bread.
How to buy pate
Finding pate paste in a supermarket can be a little difficult unless you live in France, where it’s considered a staple dish. However, when buying one, I’d recommend checking the specialty section first.
Ensure that wherever you buy pate from, it’s fresh and not old. Pate tastes the best when it’s fresh.
If you can’t find pate at a store, make it at home as many people do that.
How to use pate
Pate is a highly versatile dish that can be used in many ways. Typically, pate’s served as an appetizer at dinner parties or as a snack with tea. You can serve it as a spread on toast or other types of bread like sourdough or a baguette. You can also serve it as a dip with vegetables like carrots, cucumber, and celery.
Pate can also be used to make sandwiches or as a burger topping. Other ways you can use pate include serving it with or inside eggs, with cheese or fruit platters, or using it as a stuffing for vegetables like peppers or tomatoes.
Types of pate
Here are some of the most popular types of pates:
Pate de campagne
Pate de campagne features ground pork meat, pork liver, garlic, butter, and parsley. This is one of the most popular types of pate and served to people trying pate for the first time because of its simplicity and delicious taste.
Pate de foie gras
Pate de Foie Gras, on the other hand, is made of duck or goose liver. It’s quite famous in France, which is why it’s often regarded as the French pate.
This is a vegetarian pate made with pureeing dried mushrooms, rosemary, butter, and other ingredients.
These have a lighter texture than typical pates and are made by creating a mousse of chicken or pork liver.
The bottom line
Pate is a simple yet delicious dish, which is ultimately a must-try! What’s more, it’s also quite easy to make one at home. If you want to try making it, here’s a French pate recipe that you can try making yourself!