Even the most simplest of foods look so much better on a well-designed plate or platter, I made my choice of the Sardine Ceramic hand-painted platters which have just been introduced by AGA Cookshop to enable me to serve the pâté and hot sour dough together. The platters come in three sizes, the large oval at 41cm x 19cm, the small or individual at 26cm x 15cm and a rectangular platter at 36cm x 21cm. All feature a group of sardines swimming across the white background, really quite cute, and may I say aspirational – I just love ceramics!! These decorative ceramics are hand painted by craftspeople in Tuscany and you can feel the warmth of the Italian sun by just looking at them.
The pâté ingredients can be mixed together ahead of time, this does enable the flavours to mature, and can be left in the refrigerator overnight.
To make the griddled sour dough I used the AGA Cast Aluminium Rectangular Oven Griddle, which is designed to sit on the floor of the Roasting Oven (not the runners), so you get the benefit of the base heat from the cast iron oven floor. Cast aluminium is a good conductor of heat and I find it very speedy. It is used for griddling steaks, vegetables, sausages, bacon, chicken fillets, salmon fillets and here I’m using it for bread. (AGA Total Control, AGA 60, AGA eR3 Series owners are advised to use their floor grid underneath the Oven Griddle for items that take over 20-30 minutes cooking)
Drizzle the bread with some rape seed or olive oil and place on the hot oven griddle, just a few minutes either side for golden crisp slices – using the oven to griddle means cooking smells are kept to a minimum. Less than fresh bread is revived using this method! I have found the fresher the bread the slightly longer the cooking time. Serve the hot sour dough with the pâté.
This pâté is based upon a German friend’s recipe. Made ahead allows the flavours to mature together.
1 x 180g pack of cream cheese
Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
3 fat gherkins, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
120g smoked salmon, coarsely chopped
1 small sour dough loaf, sliced
Olive oil or rape seed oil
Soften the cream cheese in a bowl on the AGA Warming Plate or at the back of the AGA – use a cork mat or piece of folded kitchen paper to protect the enamel. When it is soft enough to easily beat add the grated zest and juice of the small lemon, the gherkins, dill and smoked salmon pieces. Mix together and season with the ground black pepper. Place in a covered container in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
Take the pâté out of the refrigerator and arrange on a platter and garnish – this is so it is ready for the griddled sour dough as soon as it comes out of the AGA.
Place the AGA Cast Aluminium Rectangular Oven Griddle on the floor of the Roasting Oven then drizzle the slices of sour dough with a little oil, each side. Take the griddle out of the AGA and place the bread on it. Return to the floor of the Roasting Oven for about 3-4 minutes then turn over and griddle the other side – timing rather depends upon the freshness of the bread. As soon as the bread is golden coloured serve hot with the cold pâté.