Last weekend was our friends' annual Lily Party, which I wrote about in this post last year. I suppose I was still feeling guilty about showing up with naught but a pile of nuts, so I put in a little extra effort this year and made pâté. I used the recipe and instructions for a Country Pâté from Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn's excellent Charcuterie.
The result was nearly impeccable – the flavor was complex and satisfying, but it wasn't quite fatty enough, owing to a dearth of pork shoulder at the market. I used a roast, and supplemented with salt pork (holding back half the salt called for in the recipe to compensate), but failed to meet the requirement for 25 – 30% fat. Even so, all 2 or so pounds of pâté were eaten with gusto and appreciation. I served it on a long platter, sliced just over 1/8" thick, laid on a bed of psychedelic Savoy cabbage from the garden, with thinly sliced baguette, pickled sour cherries, and whole grain mustard. Several celebrants hunted me down to compliment my effort.
I have to say, though, that I found this pâté a little too...pristine? Poised? Finished? The last time I made a country pâté was about 20 years ago, and I used Julia's recipe from The Way to Cook. It was terrific, if a little...I don't know, naughty? More rustic, funky, idiosyncratic (and fatty). I'd made it for a similar sort of affair, and one of the guests happened to be Warren Picower, then Managing Editor of Food & Wine Magazine. He sought me out to let me know just how impressed he was with my pâté.