I seem to be on a vegetarian kick at the moment. The older I get, the less I crave meat; of course, certain dishes call out to me from time to time, like pot roast, or hamburgers, or chili. I occasionally indulge in some good barbecue, and fish still entices me. And of course, there’s always bacon. Ummm…bacon. But generally, when I do eat meat I eat far less of it than I did in my misspent youth.
I love liver pate, but come on…the calories and the cholesterol are pretty off-putting. Some time ago, I found this mushroom pate, and it satisfies every pate craving I have ever had. It calls for butter to cook the mushrooms, but if you substitute olive oil, you have a delicious vegan, umami rich, and even healthy pate. Here, I grilled slices of my homemade herb bread to use as a base, but you could use crackers as well.
Mushroom Pate (adapted from Sunset)
1 lb. cremini mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup whole almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
salt to taste
Wash the cremini mushrooms by passing them under running water. In a food processor, combine the cremini mushrooms and the shallots (peeled). Pulse until everything is finely chopped. Add about 2 tablespoons of water and pulse again.
In a large skillet, melt the butter, add the mushroom mixture and a large pinch of salt, and sauté over low heat, stirring often, until the mushrooms are golden brown and any liquid that has been released during cooking has evaporated.
In the food processor (you don’t have to clean it thoroughly; it’s OK if there are still bits of mushrooms in there for this step), process the nuts until finely chopped and start to form a paste. With the mixer running, pour the olive oil through the tube and process until the nuts are smooth. Add the mushroom mixture and continue to process until the mixture is homogeneous and resembles a loose pate. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt to taste.