Pork-Pistachio Pate

This image courtesy of Johnny Miller

This is very French in flavor but designed for the busy American. There is no need to bother with timers, water baths, and long cooking times as you would when making a traditional pâté—the entire thing cooks in the microwave. This pairs amazingly well with White Bread toast points and cornichons. Don’t bother peeling the skin off the nuts unless you feel like it. 

NotesWeighting and Chilling Pâtés:

After pâtés are cooked, many will need to be weighted and refrigerated. The procedure is the same for all of them, not matter what they contain. Cut a heavy piece of cardboard—or two pieces if the cardboard is lightweight—to fit inside the top of your pan. Cover the cardboard(s) with a secure layer of aluminum foil. If you can find a brick or a knife-honing stone that will fit into your pan, use it. Wrap it in foil to keep it from absorving fat. Alternatively, use at least two filled cans that are heavy and will fit into your pan. Make a place in your refrigerator to store the weighted pâté.

After the pâté has come out of the oven, allow it to cool until can comfortably pick the pan up with your hands. (Placing the cooked pâté in front of an open window in cool weather helps.) Put the prepared cardboard on top of the pâté, put the weights on top, and carefully place in the refrigerator. Meat pâtés should be allowed to chill for at least a day. In two days, the flavor will have fully developed. If you wish to keep the pâtés for a longer time, unmold them and wrap in plastic wrap and then wrap thoroughly in aluminum foil. Most pâtés keep for a good week.

Makes72 servings

Cooking Methodmicrowaving



Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cocktail Party, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursehors d'oeuvre

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free



Taste and Texturemeaty, nutty, rich, spiced

Type of Dishcanape/crostini


  • 1½ pounds ground pork
  • 2 ounces fatback, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ pound yellow onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 ounces shelled pistachio nuts


  1. Place all the ingredients except the salt and pistachio nuts in a food processor and process until smooth. Add salt to taste.

  2. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and stir in the pistachio nuts. Coat a 9-x-S-x-3-inch glass or ceramic loaf pan with nonstick vegetable spray. Scrape the mixture into the pan. Smooth out the surface with a spatula. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Cook in a microwave oven at full power for 8½ minutes. Prick the plastic to release steam.

  3. Remove from the oven and uncover. When cool, weight the pate with a foil-wrapped brick (see Notes). Refrigerate overnight. Unmold. Trim the ends and cut into 1/3-inch slices. Cut each slice into thirds.


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Today, pancetta is often used instead of fatback.


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