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Exotic Mushroom Pate
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Serves/Makes:16 or more

  • For pate:
  • 1-1/2 cups (350 ml) chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium broth
  • 1 oz (28 grm). or 1 cup (225 ml) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) or 5 oz (140 grm). minced shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) dry sherry
  • 3/4 lb (.3 kg). shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced (6 cups)
  • 3/4 lb (.3 kg). oyster mushrooms, trimmed leaving stems intact, and caps thinly sliced (3 3/4 cups)
  • 1 cup (225 ml) heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) (1 oz (28 grm).) whole almonds with skins, toasted, cooled, and finely ground in a food processor
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) fine fresh bread crumbs
  • 1-1/2 tbsp (20 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) salt
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) freshly ground black pepper
  • For mushroom topping:
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 cup (225 ml) or 3 oz (84 grm). shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps quartered
  • 1 cup (225 ml) or 2-3/4 oz (77 grm). oyster mushrooms, stems discarded and caps quartered
  • 3/4 cup (175 ml) or 3-1/2 oz (98 grm). whole almonds with skins, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/8 tsp (1 ml) salt
  • 1/8 tsp (1 ml) freshly ground black pepper
  • Accompaniment: assorted toasts and/or crackers
  • Special equipment: a 12-by-3-by 2 3/4-inch (2-quart) loaf pan or terrine; parchment paper
  • Make the pate:
  • Butter loaf pan, then line bottom and sides with parchment paper and butter paper.
  • Bring stock to a boil in a small saucepan.
  • Remove pan from heat, add porcini, and let soak in hot stock until softened, about 30 minutes.
  • With a slotted spoon, transfer porcini to a medium-mesh sieve set over a bowl.
  • Press on porcini with back of a spoon to remove excess liquid, then add this to soaking liquid and reserve.
  • Rinse porcini to remove any grit.
  • Pat dry, chop, and put in a large bowl.
  • Strain reserved soaking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter or dampened paper towel into another small saucepan.
  • Bring to a brisk simmer over moderate heat and simmer until reduced to about 1/4 cup (60 ml), about 10 minutes. Add to porcini.
  • Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 C.).
  • Heat 2 tbsp (30 ml) butter in a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides.
  • Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes.
  • Add sherry and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  • Transfer mixture to a blender.
  • Heat more 2 tbsp (30 ml) butter in skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides.
  • Add one third of shiitake and oyster mushrooms and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer to a bowl and cook remaining mushrooms in 2 batches, adding more 2 tbsp (30 ml) butter to skillet for each batch.
  • Add 2 cups (475 ml) sauteed mushrooms to shallot mixture in blender, and add remaining mushrooms to porcini mixture.
  • Add cream, then eggs and almonds to blender and puree until mixture is very smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Add puree to porcini mixture and stir in parsley, thyme, bread crumbs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  • Pour mixture into loaf pan and cover with foil.
  • Put loaf pan in a larger baking pan and add enough boiling water to reach halfway up sides of loaf pan.
  • Bake until set 1/2 inch from edges, about 50 minutes (pate will not be completely set in center).
  • Remove loaf pan from baking pan and let cool to room temperature on a rack.
  • Refrigerate pate in loaf pan, covered, for at least 6 hours.
  • Bring pate to room temperature before adding topping.
  • While the pate comes to room temperature, make the topping:
  • Heat butter and oil in a large skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides.
  • Add mushrooms and almonds and cook, stirring, until mushrooms are tender and liquid they give off has evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer to a heatproof bowl and let cool, then add parsley, salt, and pepper and toss to combine.
  • To unmold pate, run a thin knife between paper and edges of loaf pan.
  • Invert a large plate over loaf pan and invert pate onto plate (peel off paper).
  • Mound topping on pate.
  • Use as spread on toasts and/or crackers.
This pate is neither easy nor inexpensive, but when you are looking for a tour de force, it is a gorgeous thing. If you feel the urge to simplify, omit the topping, but frankly, the pate won't be quite as impressive without it, and you also won't have the exquisite contrast of the parsley and the crunchy almonds.

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