Since veggie sandwich toppings can be a bit limited and repetitive, I thought I’d give making a pate-like substitute using mushrooms a go. Here’s how round one of experimenting went!
Mushroom Pate made with Creme Fraiche
The first time I made this, I took inspiration from several mushroom pate recipes I found online, as well as the recipe my mum was using to make some sort of fish pate. I finely chopped mushrooms and onions, then fried them in olive oil with garlic and herbs. After cooling, I mixed them with creme fraiche, probably along with a drop of soy sauce and some salt and pepper
It tasted great and all of it vanished within a few minutes, but it had a relatively fluid consistency, thanks both to the mushroom fluid and the creme fraiche, so it was more like a dip than a pate.
This time, I didn’t use onions, and tried to thicken it with flour. I also fried large chunks of mushroom and then mashed them, rather than chopping finely, which was fiddly and took too long.
Though I don’t think it tastes particularly like pate, this one did work pretty well. The consistency was too runny for pate, of course, but it was lovely and refreshing.
Mushroom Pate With Peanut Butter (vegan)
In some of the recipes I found online, various nuts were used, so I thought, why not try using peanut butter? Maybe it would help thicken the pate up. It did its job a little too well, though, so I added a small amount of water (less than a table spoon) as well and a drop of sherry vinegar.
I could really taste the vinegar; it was almost overpowering. While I only added a tiny amount, the pate sample was also pretty small. I imagine this wouldn’t be a problem with a larger batch. Otherwise, it just tasted like peanut butter with lumps (mushrooms) in.
Mushroom Pate With Hummus (vegan)
Next on my list of ideas for things to thicken my pate was hummus. We currently have sweet chilli hummus in our fridge, so this is what I used. But since hummus itself isn’t particularly thick, it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. Again, I also added salt and pepper.
This tasted more like thousand-island dressing than pate, and is very similar in colour too, though in the picture it looks paler than it does in real life. Again, it was quite refreshing, but mostly just tasted of the hummus, except a bit watered down.
Mushroom Pate With Aubergine
While I used fried-then-mashed mushrooms in all the above pates, I decided to try something new with this one, and boiled them instead. Mostly, I was just curious about what boiled mushrooms were like, since I’ve only ever fried and grilled them. They weren’t too different from fried mushrooms, and were no easier to mash. The boiled aubergine, however, was much easier to mash than either type of mushroom.
I had hoped the mashed aubergine would act as a paste to bind the mushroom together. This might have worked a bit better if I’d squeezed more liquid out of it. I tried thickening it up with flour, but this didn’t seem to work too well either.
I stirred in salt, pepper, and garlic, and, upon tasting, added small teaspoons of peanut butter and creme fraiche, because why not.
It certainly looked the most like pate out of all of them, in both consistency and colour. It was quite mild and didn’t taste of much (mostly just of garlic), but, again, was quite refreshing.
I had worried that none of these would work, but was pleasantly surprised; they were all quite palatable. The peanut butter pate, with its distinctive vinegar taste, stood out the most, but was my least favourite. I couldn’t taste the mushrooms much in any of them, so mostly they just tasted of whatever else I’d put in. The creme fraiche one is certainly to be recommended, though I doubt I’d call it a pate.
Next time I give this a go, I’ll make a big enough batch to put in the blender, and see what effect that has a consistency. I think I’ll experiment the most with the mushroom and aubergine one, and maybe try adding actual nuts rather than peanut butter.
Have you tried making mushroom pate? How did it go and what recipe(s) do you recommend? Let me know in the comments!