Mushroom Pâté: A Weekday Breakfast Treasure
Pâté is generally made of meat, often liver, with fat, onion, shallot, garlic herbs, wine, spices or a combination thereof cooked and pureed into a spreadable paste. It's commonly served as an appetizer or cheese tray accruement, ultra creamy and layered with flavor, so easy to smear onto a crunchy baguette and nibble on with pickled vegetables.
Pâté masks as fancy, but it is incredibly budget-friendly. It can be made quickly and on-the-cheap using inexpensive meat, or mushrooms for a meatless version, blended with some kind of fat, wine, and herbs or spices.
The beauty of this mushroom pâté is it steps into a quick breakfast or brunch with ease. Any dinner party leftovers are now a savory spread on morning toast with a poached egg and greens, folded into an omelet with goat cheese, or swirled into savory oats. I used fresh button mushrooms because I had them on hand, but this recipe would work well mix of wild mushrooms, fresh or dried and reconstituted.
makes about 2 cups
4 tablespoons butter or bacon fat
1 pound mushrooms or 3 ounces dried and reconstituted in hot water, cleaned and sliced
1/2 cup sliced shallots or 1/3 cup red onions
1 tablespoon sliced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons thyme leaves or sage
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, sherry, port, or red wine
1/4 cup walnuts or almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons cream cheese
Melt butter or bacon fat in a large stockpot over medium heat. Once melted, stir in mushrooms, shallots, and garlic. Sauté, stirring every few minutes, until the mushrooms, shallots, and garlic and soft and velvety, about 25 minutes. Next, deglaze with balsamic vinegar (substitute a fortified wine or a red wine), stirring to release any caramelized bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Continue cooking until the liquid mostly evaporates off, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in thyme (or herb of choice) and let cool. Transfer to a blender or food processor. Add in toasted almonds (or walnuts) and cream cheese. Purée until smooth, or the paste is your desired consistency. Some prefer to leave a little texture to it. Transfer the pâté to a serving container and cover the top plastic wrap or a lid. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving to let the pâté firm up a little bit. Serve with crackers, toasts, flaky salt, spiced nuts, sliced vegetables, or picked vegetables.