In praise of paté

Posted on by Beyond Bespoke

Perfect for brunch or for topping dinner party crostinis, these two luxury paté recipes are simple and delicious, says food writer Joanna Weinberg

The truth about great paté? It’s pretty much 50 per cent butter. Now for the good news: butter is officially good for you. Recent research has found that it was the ‘low-fat’ culture of the last 30 years that has been the principle factor in the obesity boom. So, embrace these good fats – they are packed with the essential oils that will curb your cravings for sugar and see you through these (last, we hope) cold, grey days.

Here are two recipes we are loving at Kitchen Table Cookery at the moment, and teaching on our newly launched and (to our intense gratification) popular men’s cookery evenings.

The first is an insanely easy mash-together-in-seconds sardine butter from the store cupboard. It is completely moreish, perfect spread on hot wholemeal or rye toast, so that it softens and melts, or tossed into just-cooked greens, beans or broccoli.

The second is inspired by Ballymaloe’s (the great Irish cookery school) classic house chicken liver paté. Utterly smooth and addictive, you will never have a dinner (or lunch, or – and I speak for myself here – brunch) party without it again.


Adapted from Hemsley & Hemsley

 Serves 4 as a snack or 2 for lunch, with salad

 85g unsalted butter, room temperature

100g tin sardines (85g drained weight)

grated zest & juice ½ unwaxed lemon

salt, to taste

To serve:

1 red onion, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Half an hour before you want to eat, sit the chopped onion into the lemon juice and allow to marinate. It will cut the sharp flavour and turn it a beautiful bright pink. Now mash together sardines and butter in a bowl. Add lemon juice & zest, pepper, taste for salt and return to the fridge. Spread on to toast or crackers, or for a dinner party, crostinis, and top with the marinated onion.


Adapted from Ballymaloe

Serves 10-12

225g fresh organic chicken livers

4-5 tablespoons brandy

175g butter, cut into cubes

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 large garlic clove, crushed

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Clarified butter to seal the top

Wash the livers and remove any membrane or green-tinged bits. Melt a little butter in a frying pan. When it foams, add the livers and cook over a low heat. All trace of pink should be gone, but be careful not to overcook them or the outsides will get crusty. Put the livers into a food processor.

 Deglaze the pan with the brandy and allow it to flame if you are brave enough. Add the crushed garlic and thyme leaves, stirring for two minutes then scraping everything into the food processor with the livers. Purée for a few seconds till smooth. Let cool.

Add most of the remaining butter pieces and purée again until smooth. Taste, season with salt and pepper, taste again, and add more butter if necessary. The paté should taste fairly mild and be quite smooth in texture.

Spread over your crostini and eat straightaway, or seal with clarified butter and refrigerate or freeze till you want to use it.

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