This pate is something that people in Italy make for a casual summer’s day lunch and everyone is convinced that “their way” is the best way. They are also secretly disparaging and judgmental of another person’s pate recipe. However, when you ask someone to reveal what their special touch is, they remain vague/tightlipped and quickly change the subject. So this recipe is MY version of the pate, which I developed over a few trials and taste tested on my mom (who is Italian) and also at a dinner party. Mom loved it and the pate was the first thing to be completely devoured at the dinner party – always a good sign. (Incidentally, mom styled the picture of this recipe. Isn’t the carrot top as an eye thing totally genius?!)
I was first introduced to this dish as a child by my uncle, who makes an excellent pate, complete with his homemade mayonnaise, and decorated with paper thin slices of lemon (Wait a minute… Now that I think about it, my own uncle did not answer my email asking for pate recipe advice – Shady!) I have a memory of visiting Paris as a young child, being invited over to my uncle’s house for lunch, and eating his pate alone in a large, lonely dining room while he watched a World Cup match behind closed doors in another room. Some people might think that’s a little weird (and in hindsight maybe it was), but I swear the pate was so good that I didn’t even care (more for me!) Plus, I think I remember it was the World Cup Final, so who can blame him, really? 😉
Now granted, Italians makes this with tuna fish, but as you would have read in my IMO piece, I am trying to avoid tuna, so I remade it here with Wild Caught Alaskan canned skinless & boneless salmon (FYI, I found the canned salmon on the very bottom shelf of my local Whole Foods & also saw some at a local grocery store on Long Island, so it’s not a totally rarity! I also saw it on Amazon.com). As a side note, I am not really an anchovy person, but I would not skip it here. A small amount of anchovies will not taste fishy or pungent, it just adds a layer of umami/savoriness that helps to bring this dish alive. Also, as an experiment, we tried Veganase (+1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard mixed in) instead of homemade mayonnaise and it worked/tasted good too! Store bought mayo should work too…But homemade mayo is really other level, so try it! 🙂 Serve with warm bread and/or crackers and enjoy!
2 CANS OF SALMON (Wild Alaskan; Skinless & Boneless)
2 SMALL POTATOES, PEELED AND BOILED.
1 TABLESPOON OF OLIVE OIL
SMALL HANDFUL OF CAPERS, DRAINED.
JUICE FROM ½ LEMON
SALT & PEPPER TO TASTE
MAYONAISE (I make my mayo in a blender)
– Recipe taken from ICE handbook for Fine Cooking I –
NOTE: ALL THESE INGREDIENTS NEED TO BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE.
1 WHOLE EGG
2 TABLESPOONS JUICE FROM A LEMON
2 TEASPOONS OF DIJON MUSTARD
1 – 1 ½ CUPS OF EQUAL PARTS OLIVE OIL AND CANOLA OIL
TEASPOON OF WARM WATER
PINCH OF SALT
- Peel and boil small potatoes until cooked all the way through (A fork should go through very easily).
- Put potatoes in a Cuisinart to smooth them. (You don’t want the potatoes to be completely pureed, leave some small chunks in there.)
- Drain salmon from the cans, making sure no liquid is left.
- In a bowl, combine the salmon, smoothed potatoes, capers, olive oil, anchovies, and a pinch of salt & pepper. Mix very well.
- Put the mixture in your fridge for at least an hour.
MAYONNAISE *Remember ALL MAYO INGREDIENTS NEED TO BE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE!*
- Add the egg, teaspoon of warm water, lemon juice, mustard, and salt and run in a blender or food processor for about 15 seconds.
- While the machine is still running, verrryyyy slowly add in the oil in drops or a verrrry thin stream. (Note: If you add the oil too quickly, the mayo will not come together, so take a deep breath and STAY CALM.)
- At one point, the mayo willl magically come together (it’s kinda awesome).
- To thicken a thin mayo, add in 1 egg yolk.
Mold refrigerated salmon into fish shape with your hands and smooth on mayo with a knife until it is completely covered. Decorate as desired and serve (FYI, our fish eye is made out of a carrot top and fish fin is arugula). You can also make ahead of time and store in refrigerator.