Pates & Terrines

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I REMEMBER EATING PÂTÉ often as a child. It was served on crackers or small rounds of toast as an hors d’oeuvre. It was always smooth and livery tasting. Years later, after my interest in French cooking had taken hold and I was living in France, I learned that the majority of pâtés were more of a coarse, chunky variety—sort of like meat loaf—and only those made from liver (goose, duck, chicken, and pork) were smooth.

Even though the full range of pâtés has been discovered on this side of the Atlantic, there is still a tendency to lump them all under the heading of pâté, whereas there are distinct differences. Literally speaking, the word pâté means baked in a crust—which was designed to be a strong, edible, decorative container for the meat mixture. A terrine, on the other hand, is baked in a ceramic mold (called a terrine). In fact, the mold is often designed to look like a pâté’s crust. Then there are the galantines and ballotines—the aristocrats of the pâté world. Instead of a crust or a mold, the pâté mixture is usually poached or baked wrapped inside the skin of a chicken or duck and coated in aspic.

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