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What is pâté?

Pâté is not necessarily chopped liver


Pâté and crackers
Erik Rank/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Mention pâté, and what comes to mind first, expensive gourmet duck liver or chopped liver? Both are correct, of course, but pâté is not limited to poultry. It can be as fancy as you like, suitable for the grandest occasion, or an inexpensive but rave-drawing appetizer at your home party. Most pâtés are much simpler to prepare than you might expect.

What is pâté?

Pâté (pronounced pah-TAY) is French for "pie." It is traditionally served baked in a crust (en croûte) or molded as a terrine. The crust, interestingly enough, was not originally intended to be eaten, but to hold the pâté together.

Today, the terms pâté and terrine are often used interchangeably. Pâté is simply a mixture of seasoned ground seafood, poultry, meat or vegetables, and often a combination of several different base ingredients.

Beef, pork, liver, ham, seafood, wild game, poultry, and vegetables are all candidates for pâté. The grind can be smooth and creamy or on the chunky side. It may be served hot or cold, molded or unmolded.

More about Pâté:

What is pâté?
Pâté de foie gras History and French Law
Pâté Cooking Tips and Hints
Pâté Recipes
Pâté Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge, licensed to About.com, Inc.


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