I am terrible about remembering people’s birthdays. It is embarrassing that a good friend of mine reminds me about my parents’ birthday every year. However, in the past year or so, I found a good method of remembering about birthdays and making birthday presents at the same time. The solution is cake. For some unknown reason, I find birthday cake deadlines much more effective than Facebook, Outlook, and other gadgets.
In the past, there was Yasaman’s chocolate roll-cake and Amina’s pear tart, but few months ago I received an unusual request from my friend, colleague, and great cook – Jeremy. He asked for a pate as birthday present.
My conservative and purist views on food eliminated the idea of a cake-shaped pate ala SeriousEats right away and knowing Jeremy’s weakness for duck and pork, I decided to mix the proteins a bit. Roasted pistachios enhance the texture, add natural saltiness, and nutty smokiness to this silky treat. This pate would make a great holiday present, a center piece at a wine party, and a much better snack than a granola bar.
1 Tbsp butter
.1 pound guanchala (smoked pork fat)
1 medium shallot
5 sage leafs
2 springs of tarragon
1.25 pound chicken liver
.5 pound duck liver
1 duck lung (very well cleaned)
1/3 cup dry red wine
5 Tbsp soft unsalted butter
1/3 cup roasted salted pistachios
splash of red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp butter melted
1Tbps of chopped cup roasted salted pistachios cleaned from the outer skin
2-3 small sage leafs
Melt butter and guanchala in a steal or cast iron pan over medium heat. Add finely chopped shallots, sage, tarragon to the pan, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add meat to a hot pan and cook for 3 minutes or until livers are just slightly pink in the middle. Add wine, scraping the bottom of the pan reduce the liquid to 3 Tbsp. Turn off the heat and put 4 livers on a side.
Cool the meat. Add the meat (with all pan juices), pistachios, butter, 1 tsp salt, 1/3 tsp black pepper, and a splash of red wine vinegar to a blender or a food processor. Whiz the mixture until it is smooth. Move the pate into a large bowl.
Chop reserved livers and gently fold chopped livers into the pate. Fill up sterilized ramekin or jar with pate leaving 1/3 inch of space on top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Pour 1 Tbsp of melted butter over the pate to seal it. Refrigerate for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chopped pistachios over the butter and garnish with fresh sage. Serve with toasted bread.