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I love paté but don't eat it very often.
I have a recipe from my restaurant for the house paté that dates from about 1980. I make it only rarely because it starts with just shy of a pound of butter (yep, you read that correctly, a pound of butter). I ran the numbers on it one time and a 1/4 cup serving came in at 300 calories and 25 grams of fat. This is a good example of when you make recipes yourself and know what goes into them, you might be more hesitant to eat the dish very often.
Knowing the amount of fat and calories, I don't eat paté in restaurants very often either. But sometimes I do and this is the sort of thing that I mean when I talk about balance in your diet. There are times to splurge and have great food, and by learning to cook yourself you are always making an informed decision.
One of the times that I will order it is when I am travelling and dining in restaurants that I might not get to eat in again. Patés are often the mark of a good restaurant, so I will occasionally order them.
When I was in Santiago, Chile we went to the restaurant of a chef that I met, Fernando Walker. His fish restaurant, La Pescaderia de Walker, was recommended to us and when we arrived and were settled he came by with a small dish of mousse style paté. This was a particularly delicious start and a fine pate (even though I might have felt a short pang of guilt about all that butter).
Then Chef Fernando came by the table again, and after I complimented the paté and its rich flavor, he told me that his paté didn't contain butter - he made it with apples.
We talked about this and how it was done, and as you might expect, I couldn't wait to get home and rework my old recipe with his technique.
A lot of people don't like liver, but those who do are often afraid of it because it contains a lot of cholesterol. The thing is that liver is not bad for you. In truth, very few of us are actually faced with issues of dietary cholesterol having an effect on serum cholesterol. With paté, however, you generally combine a lot of cholesterol with a lot of saturated fat and that does make for a recipe that can have a significant impact on health - if you eat a lot of it. The prospect of a fantastic version without all that butter was pretty exciting.
The technique was pretty simple. I made my paté according to my original 1980 recipe, substituting olive oil for the butter that is used to sauté the onions. I then used three small Golden Delicious apples that had been peeled and diced, sautéing them in a little bit more olive oil. This is the key. The apples have to be lightly browned to caramelize them, but not overly so or you will dry them out. The center should be soft but not mushy.
The rest of the recipe is true to form and my house had the aroma of my old restaurant, Le Petite Café, for a few days, bringing back old memories. The paté is not quite as firm and more mousse-like, along the lines of Chef Fernando's, but it is delicious, and dare I say it, nutritious at only 70 calories per serving.
I had a wonderful time in Chile and met a lot of great chefs, physicians and public health experts, but this trip will be forever remembered for great paté.