SPINACH PATE (about 4 cups)
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
sour cream or walnut oil
pomegranate seeds and slivered red onion
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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