Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Pork Pate with Dried Cherries and Pistachios

Rustic Pork Pate with Dried Cherries and Pistachios

Pâté? What’s a pâté? A pâté is simply ground meat mixed with herbs cooked slowly in the oven, chilled, sliced and served. The traditional French accompaniment is cornichon, like tiny dill pickles and rustic mustard. I don’t think have ever been served it in someone’s house but it is often a starter in restaurants and cafes where they make their own. This recipe is based on a pâté from one of my favorite Sonoma restaurants, The Girl and The Fig.

When my friend Shireen invited us over for a cold plated supper I thought this would be the perfect course to prepare. I could do all the work in advance. The only tricky thing I did was grind the meat myself. I bought a meat grinder on Craigslist so plan on hearing of more meat centric adventures.

This pâté screams "Eat me!" The bright green toasted pistachios are poking the dried tart cherries out of the way to take center stage. The contrast of sweet soft cherry to toasted pistachio is complimented by the Asian spice flavors molded into the pork.

Pork Pâté with dried cherries, pistachios and five spice powder

1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons red chili flakes
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon 5-spice powder
1 clove
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 garlic clove

2 ½ pounds ground pork butt (medium grind)
1/4 pound pork fat (medium grind)
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup sugar

1 cup dried cherries
1 cup pistachios, toasted (raw pistachios, on a sheet in a 350 oven for 8-10 min.)

One or two days before:
Toast the coriander seeds in a small pan on the stove until they start to pop a little. Remove from the heat and add the 5-spice powder and let the heat of the pan warm it up. Add these spices to the spice grinder, along with the rest of the spices – the chili flakes, bay, clove and thyme. Grind them to a fine powder.
In a large bowl combine the ground pork, pork fat, all the ground spices, and the salt, pepper and sugar. Mix well being careful not to overwork but ensuring the spices get evenly mixed throughout. Place in a smaller container and cover. Put in the fridge for 24 hours or more.