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Spinach Pâté with Walnuts
(recipe, Carrie Floyd)
When I first made this "pâté," it was from a recipe in Food & Wine. I've since seen it reprinted in Paula Wolfert's book The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean and adapted it as my own. This makes a terrific party appetizer not only because it tastes better when made in advance, but also because everyone — vegetarians and omnivores alike — eats it up.
- 2 lb. fresh spinach, thoroughly washed
- 3 unpeeled garlic cloves
- ⅔ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp. coarse salt
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- Pinch of cayenne
- ⅔ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- ⅓ cup Italian parsley, chopped
- ½ cup grated onion, rinsed and squeezed dry
- 3 tsp. rice-wine vinegar
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Sour cream
- Red onion, thinly sliced, or Pickled Red Onions
- Crisp rye crackers
- In a large saucepan fitted with a steamer, add enough water to fill the bottom of the pan. Steam the spinach until almost tender, then add the garlic cloves and cook a couple of minutes longer. Drain the spinach and, when cool, squeeze out as much water as possible, reserving ⅓ cup of the spinach liquid. Coarsely chop the spinach and place in a medium bowl. Peel the garlic and set aside.
- In a mortar or food processor, pound or pulse the walnuts with ½ tsp. salt, coriander, cayenne, and the peeled garlic, until the mixture is pasty and oily. Blend in the reserved spinach water.
- Add the walnut mixture, cilantro, parsley, and onion to the spinach, and mix together with your hands. Add the vinegar, remaining salt, and black pepper; season to taste with vinegar, salt, and pepper or cayenne.
- Divide mixture between two lightly oiled bowls or large ramekins, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
- To serve, bring the spinach pâté to room temperature and invert onto serving plates. Garnish with thin slices of red onion and a dollop or drizzle of sour cream, and serve with crisp rye crackers on the side.