Recipe: Spinach pkhali (dip)

Recipe: Spinach pkhali (dip)
Eggs stuffed with caviar, spinach dip (left) and (right) smoked salmon and shiitakes on toast. (Robert Lachman, Los Angeles Times)

Total time:

30 minutes plus 6 to 8 hours for chilling



4 to 6



Adapted from a recipe in "Please to the Table" by Anya von Bremzen. The walnut sauce can also be used to flavor eggplant or beet purée.

2 pounds fresh spinach, tough stems removed



3/4 cup walnuts, ground

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, minced

3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds or 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

Pinch cayenne

1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek

1 1/2 tablespoons tarragon



Pomegranate seeds or walnut pieces for garnish

1. Rinse the spinach

leaves well in several changes of cold water. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and cook the spinach until tender, under 1 minute. Drain well, and cool until manageable.

2. Squeeze out

as much liquid as possible from the spinach. Chop it as finely as possible (don't use a food processor or blender, which may purée it; it should have texture). Set aside.

3. Combine the ground

walnuts in a bowl with the garlic, onion, cilantro, coriander seeds, cayenne, fenugreek and vinegar. Add 3 tablespoons of water and mix well.

4. Add the spinach

to the walnut mixture, and stir until thoroughly blended and smooth. Season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours to allow the garlic to mellow. To serve, spread the dip on a plate and smooth the top with a spatula. With a knife, make a pattern of diamonds in the top, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds or walnut pieces. This can be served with lavash or other flat bread.

Each serving:

132 calories; 6 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 10 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 87 mg. sodium.