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If my grandmother could see what I call ‘pâté’ she’d disown me. ‘Pâté’ in her interpretation was a very specific, elaborate affair, duly pronounced with a capital ‘P’. It rode out onto the Christmas table, took the royal seat at Easter or whenever the occasion was important enough to be honoured with a Pâté.
Pâté was baked, never steamed. Pâté was made from very specific cuts of meat – meat, of course, always – pork, pork and pork. You’d never guess she had Jewish ancestry. If I remember clearly, there was bacon involved, copious quantities of liver, about a bucket of butter and several dozens of eggs. It was no mean affair.
She’d make a few large loaf tins of it at any one time – the memory of the flavour had to last diners for at least six months to come. None of that vulgar, peasant nonsense of smearing pâté on bread like it was common Liverwurst; Pâté was sturdy enough to be sliced, plated and treated with respect and a dollop of mustard. I wish I’d asked her for the recipe of course because, jests aside, it was a glorious specimen of charcuterie.
She’d scoff – if scoffing wasn’t too unladylike – at the ideas of fish pâté, mushroom terrine or vegan rillettes. She wouldn’t think my salmon concoction was worth a second glance. But hey! I’ll say it’s really not at all bad. And – as Granny also used to say – if you don’t get what you like, you have to like what you get.
salmon pateServings: about a cupTime: an hour
- 150-200g (6-7oz.) salmon fillet, skinned
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp. butter
- ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 2-4 radishes
- 2 gherkins
- salt and black pepper
Marinate the salmon in soy sauce and honey overnight. The next day place it in an oven dish, dot with butter and squeeze the lemon over it. Bake it for about 40 mins at 110C/225F/gas ¼.
In the meantime chop the tarragon and place it in a large mixing bowl. Coarsely grate the radish and gherkins into the same bowl.
When the salmon is cooked let it rest a few minutes, then add it to the bowl with any juices from the dish. Smash the salmon with a fork and stir everything to a coarse mixture.
Season with salt and pepper and press it down into a container. Chill for at least half an hour before serving.