Hypothetically speaking, if I had some sort of restaurant or space that served food to people that were A) willing to hang out with me and B) willing to pay for it, I would serve a version of this–on a big wooden board with lots of pickled veg, warm olives, a pot of mustard, really good bread, maybe some radishes and other crunchy roots. I could pair it with some other little veg-based charcuterie-ish concoction (I’ve been working on a few). There would always be a broth-y soup AND a puréed one with baller garnishes. There would be solid brown liquor representation and homemade, super warm-spicy ginger beer on draft. And salads that totally wouldn’t suck. Eggplant bacon + avocado BLT’s (working on that one too). Oh, and vegan earl grey chocolate milk shakes, some cozy bench seats, not-too-heavy, but just-heavy-enough silverware…
I might have got a little carried away there, but you get the idea. I like that rustic, all hands in, no fussin’ around kinda vibe implied by charcuterie/cheese boards. The preparation requires a bit of forethought, but the result is worth it. You get a variety of goods that are easy to present/enjoy with people you like. Obviously these sorts of things are traditionally made with meat. The potential for variety in flavour and texture is kind of exciting when you think about vegetables in this context though. My inspiration came from rillettes, which is generally prepared by slowly cooking cuts of salted pork (or other meats, sometimes fish etc.) in fat until soft. From here, the cooked meat is raked and mixed with the fat until a paste begins to form. The sheer amount of fat is what sets the mixture and allows it to keep for a while.
So yeah! Not entirely my thing, but sub in some broccoli + hella good extra virgin olive oil in for the off cuts + pork fat? Count me in. Ina Garten is kind of my queen when it comes to entertaining basics and her grainy mustard roasted potatoes are pretty much the best. I love broccoli with the sharp zing of a mustard-y vinaigrette, so I thought I could intensify that flavour union by taking my home girl Ina’s approach. I threw in a leek with the roasting broccoli to get some sweeter, caramelized qualities. Once everything’s soft, it goes for a whirl in the food processor with lemon, tons of olive oil, a little extra mustard, salt, pepper and some parmesan/nutritional yeast. I’ve tried this with both cheesy options, and can honestly tell you that they are equally good.
I save a bit of of the lightly blitzed vegetables to garnish this pâté of sorts and then pour a nice cap of EVEN MORE olive oil on top. This creates a textural thing and helps to preserve the brilliant green. I worked for a chef that grumbled to me once about a certain/uncertain cook at the restaurant making a batch of vinaigrette with all extra virgin olive oil and then storing it in the fridge overnight. The one litre container of it was solid and obviously not fit for immediate usage upon our realization at lunch the next day. Cool thing though? That approach gives this riff on rillettes the solid heft we’re looking for. Someone else’s mistakes = my vegetarian charcuterie success. Anyway, this recipe is pretty easy, has normal/everyday ingredients and comes together pretty fast (minus chill time). Be a holiday hero to your plant-y friends. C’mon, do it.
Also! I’ve been making some stuff in other places lately. Here’s a little rundown with links: sweet potato chips AND homemade pumpkin spice lattes for Food 52, vegan + wholesome eggnog over at The Chalkboard and some GF + vegan maple chai jammer cookies for a little sweets fête at Daily Candy. More to come too–holidays hip hip! :)
mustard roasted broccoli pâté with leeks + lemon
serves: makes about 1/2 a litre
notes: If you’re opting for the vegan version with nutritional yeast, you will need a bit more olive oil in the mix to achieve that extra moistness and go a bit heavier with the salt too.
3 cups broccoli florets
1 leek, white + light green parts only, rough chopped
1 tbsp heat-tolerant oil, such as grapeseed
1 tbsp + 2 tsp grainy mustard, divided
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
salt + pepper
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 – 1 1/2 tsbp lemon juice
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese OR 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil + extra for the top
flaky sea salt, like Maldon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss the broccoli florets and leeks with the heat tolerant oil, 1 tbsp of mustard, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper. Once everything is coated, spread the mixture out on the baking sheet. Roast the vegetables until lightly browned and tender, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Pulse the mixture until the broccoli is finely chopped. Scoop up a spoonful to garnish the tops of your rillettes with. To the food processor, add the remaining mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and parmesan/nutritional yeast. Pulse until everything is combined. With the motor running, drizzle the olive oil in through the feed tube. Continue to run the motor until you have a smooth, lightly chunky paste. Remove the bowl from the food processor and check the mixture for seasoning and adjust.
Scrape the rillettes mixture into your serving vessel and scatter the reserved fine chopped broccoli bits over the top, Pour a solid layer of more extra virgin olive oil on top. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours or until the rillettes + oil layer are mostly solid.
Sprinkle a bit of flaky sea salt on top of the rillettes before you serve it with sliced bread, olives, pickles, vegetables etc.