Pate’ and Bread for June Daring Cooks
Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.
This was an interesting challenge. Terrines and pates are one of those classic techniques that just aren’t utilized as often as they have been in the past. That being said, I have always wanted to learn the process. So many ingredients and flavors can be incorporated into these dishes. Many great uses have come to mind and will be attempted in the future.
While checking out recipes for pate’ online I came up with the inspiration of making Banh Mi sandwiches. They are a mix of French and Vietnamese ingredients that combine to make an incredible sandwich.
I started with a chicken liver and pork pate’ based on the challenge recipe. All of the June challenge recipes can be found here in PDF form. Basically this pate is flambeed chicken livers, ground pork belly, ground pork shoulder, herbs, bacon, and spices that is then slowly cooked in a loaf pan in a water bath. It is then chilled for several hours to allow the pate to set up.
The liver flavor is very mild and not something you should be afraid of. The pate’ is very rich and definitely a special treat.
Now it was on to the baguette. I have done baguette a couple of times before with some success. I decided to basically use the challenge recipe with one small difference. In addition to a smaller amount of dry yeast, I added some of my sourdough starter to the dough (See my pizza post for how to make your own sourdough). With the banh mi sandwiches in mind, I baked 6 smaller baguettes instead of long loaves.
I was especially proud of how these turned out. Breads are such a magical thing. Just a few ingredients can be manipulated with technique into a myriad of shapes, flavors, and textures.
Now for the banh mi. One of the defining toppings for these are a quick pickled mix of daikon and carrot. These are thin strips pickled in rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and water. They add a crunch and freshness that contrasts well with the rich pate’.
Now to assemble the sandwiches. First slice open the baguette and cover one side with mayo. Then lay down slices of pate, sliced ham, slices of English cucumber, the pickled daikon and carrot, sprigs of cilantro, and as many minced Thai chiles as you can handle. I also seasoned with Maggi sauce.
What an amazing combination of ingredients. This is so delicious.
I wasn’t quite done with the challenge yet. One of the only shows on FoodNetwork that I still watch on occasion is the series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. On one episode Tyler Florence started talking about a smoked salmon rillette he ate while at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon. I did a little research and decided on a riff using halibut instead of salmon.
The rillette is a mix of smoked halibut and fresh halibut. The fresh halibut I gently poached in white wine with peppercorns, tarragon, and thyme.
I then gently broke up the poached and smoked halibut into chunks.
In a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap, I laid down some slices of lemon, chopped fresh tarragon, and then the mix of fish.
Next I reduced the leftover poaching liquid along with fresh squeezed lemon juice and finely minced shallots. After cutting off the heat I whisked in cubes of cold butter to form a classic beurre blanc.
This sauce was poured over the mix of fish. I banged the loaf pan on the counter and gently used a knife to help the sauce settle uniformly into the fish. Now it all goes in the fridge for several hours to set properly.
The plastic wrap helps make unmolding easy. I served with baguette and apple butter. I forget where I found the suggestion for the apple butter to be served along with smoked fish.
Whoever came up with this combination deserves many thanks. The mild smokiness of the fish and the sweet of the apple butter almost combines to make a classic BBQ flavor.
This was all made using last years halibut. Well last weekend I went out to restock the freezer.
Be jealous, be very jealous.