SPINACH PATE (about 4 cups)

Appetizers, mousses, pates and terrines, spinach pate 1 Appetizers, mousses, pates and terrines, spinach pate 2a

a 2 quart terrine, 12 by 3 by 2-1/2 inches, lightly oiled

For the pate:

2 pounds baby spinach, rinsed under cold water

2 large garlic cloves, peeled

2/3 cup (2 ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

2 pinches of cayenne

½ cup chopped coriander

4 tablespoons chopped parsley

8 tablespoons grated onion, rinsed and drained

3 teaspoons mild vinegar, preferably rice wine vinegar

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Optional garnish:

sour cream or walnut oil

pomegranate seeds and slivered red onion

  1. For the best flavor, begin preparation one day in advance of serving. Toss the spinach in 2 batches in a large wok or skillet in just the water clinging to its leaves until almost tender, about 2 minutes per batch.   Add a clove of garlic to each batch and cook 2 minutes longer.  Remove the garlic and set aside.  Drain the spinach and let cool.  Squeeze the spinach by handfuls over a bowl to extract as much liquid as possible;  reserve 4 tablespoons of the spinach liquid.  Coarsely chop the spinach and transfer to a large bowl.
  1. In a mortar and pestle or a food processor, grind the walnuts with ½ teaspoon salt, the garlic, ground coriander seeds and cayenne.  Pound until the walnuts exude their oil and the mixture is pasty.  Blend in the reserved 4 tablespoons spinach water.
  1. Add the walnut mixture to the spinach and, using your fingers, mix in the fresh coriander, parsley and onion. Moisten the mixture with the vinegar and season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper.  Pack firmly into the lightly oiled terrine or bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate at least a few hours or overnight.
  1. To serve, bring the spinach pate to room temperature and invert it onto a serving plate. If desired, decorate with tiny dabs of sour cream or drizzle with walnut oil or garnish with pomegranate seeds  and slivered red onions.


NOTE:  If you are using a strong tasting onion for the garnish, sliver the onion, rub it with salt and let it stand for about 4 minutes.  Rinse under running water, squeeze dry and then use it as a garnish.  This takes out a lot of the bite.


adapted from Paula Wolfert, The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean

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