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What's a good substitute for caul fat in a country pate recipe? And other pate questions...

I'm thinking about making country pate from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. An optional item is 6-8 oz of caul fat to line the pan. My butcher shop can't help as it would have to order 40 pounds. Should I try fatback or something else or just forget it?

Another question about this recipe, it says to marinate the ground meat for 2-5 days before cooking and that the pate lasts for 10 days after cooking. Does that sound safe to you?

And finally, saltpeter. Quick Google search says to look for it at home improvement stores. Is that really the same thing I'd want to put in pate? Saltpeter is also listed as optional, will I miss it if it's not in there?


asked by askann over 6 years ago
7 answers 10093 views
79ca7fa3 11e3 4829 beae d200649eab49  walken the walk

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 6 years ago

Caul fat is really perishable and I'm not sure that you actually need it, nor must you line the terrine really if you press it firmly. Saltpetre is in there to keep your terrine pink and not turn grey (can't remember the chemical name off the top of my head). Don't take it with you on your honeymoon.

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hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

added over 6 years ago

If you have any Asian markets locally you may be able to find the caul fat. If you can't find it, then thin strips of uncured bacon may be an adequate substitute. The saltpeter is a preservative - you could substitute "pink salt" aka sodium nitrate aka curing salt. I would trust Julia & Jacques food safety info if you are using the curing salt, but would probably err on the side of caution without it.

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added over 6 years ago

I have produced millions (not an exaggeration) of lbs of nitrite free meat products since 1968 . . you do not need to add sodium nitrite or nitrate to a pate. Yes, it will be grey, but it is not needed. If you need to get a cure "pink" colour to the pate, try using celery powder or even better, Swiss chard powder. Vegetables naturally contain high amounts of nitrates that will add a cured color to meats. Look at all of the natural meat products on the market today that are nitrite free . . they all are using a form of vegetable powders to obtain the color. Nitrites are not needed for food safety, if you cook the pate to the proper temperature suited for the meat species your are using. The main use for nitrites in food safety was the fear of botulism, particularly in dry cured meats. But properly cooked meats will kill the bacteria along with the better understanding of sanitation in meat plants.

To also answer your question, fat back or bacon can be used. Even a piece of pork belly will work, sliced thinly. If you can only find the belly whole, slightly freeze it so it is firm enough to slice thinly with a sharp knife.

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added over 6 years ago

You can ask your butcher for barding fat, if he can't get caul fat. Barding fat is a very thin layer, and is often used in France for paté. You absolutely don't need pink salt, you should let your paté rest for at least 5 days before eating it, to allow the flavors to mature, and then once you cut into it you have up to a week to eat it. That's how it's done every day in France, and it's perfectly safe.

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added over 6 years ago

I have used slices of salt pork blanched in simmering water for 20 minutes or so to remove the salt. Next time I make pate, I'm going to use uncured pork belly...

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added over 6 years ago

I have never used cure in a pate nor do I have any recipe's for pate that call for cure. But, not a bad idea if you decide to keep it around for longer than a week. But, I never keep it long. I don't think customers would appreciate paying big bucks for old pate.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 6 years ago

Instead of caul fat you could use proscuitto or pate dough.

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