A Cook's Plot

Side Dishes & Canapes

Mushroom and Tarragon Pâté

Lovely as a starter, a canapé topping or even with pasta

I love this recipe, not only because it can be served as a starter or used as a canapé topping (shown here with olives and wild garlic tartlets), but also because it is fab stirred though pasta too

I used chestnut mushrooms when I made it as a pâté, and button mushrooms when I made it as a canapé topping, hence the difference in colour in the photos. But either works well - the key thing is to cook them over a high heat to drive off as much moisture as possible and concentrate the flavour.


Serves 4 as a starter or tops 20 bite-sized canapés

  • 250g mushrooms (a mix of chestnut and shiitake works well)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 30g bread, torn into pieces
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • half tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves stripped from stalk and chopped
  • 6 springs fresh parley, chopped


First, fry the mushrooms in the sunflower oil over a really high heat until they are a golden brown colour and any moisture has disappeared from the pan. Set aside and use the same pan to fry the leeks and garlic gently until they are soft. Whizz the mushrooms, leeks and garlic in a food processor with all the remaining ingredients (but save a few tarragon or parsley leaves for a garnish), until until you have a fairly course mixture. Season well with a little extra salt if necessary and lots of black pepper. Cover and put in the fridge for at least four hours until it has firmed up but is still easily spreadable.

A Cook's Plot Tip

To serve as a starter, add a side salad dressed with a sharp vinaigrette and small bread rolls or sourdough toast

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