Chef ’s notes: With its bright green color, this traditional Persian egg-and-herb dish will no doubt have guests talking. Cut it into bite-size cubes to liven up a spread of other party snacks. “This dish belongs on a table filled with pickles, spreads, cheeses with breads or crackers, and some crisp white wine. It’s remarkably better several hours after preparing and can even be served the next day, so it’s a perfect dish to make ahead and refrigerate. Just pop it in an oven on low to take the chill off.”
Kuku Sabzi with Sweet-and-Sour Tomato Chutney
Yield: 8 to 12 servings
The Persian dish pairs perfectly with a spread of dips and savory bites
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
2 tsp. whole coriander seeds
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 lb. sweet onions, julienned
2 tsp. plus 1½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
2 leeks, white and pale green parts, diced
2 tbsp. butter, cubed
¾ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. sweet paprika
1 tbsp. dried fenugreek (available online or at specialty grocery stores)
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ lb. (about 4 cups) mixed soft herbs (cilantro, parsley, and dill), cleaned and finely chopped
6 eggs, beaten
½ cup walnuts, toasted until fragrant, then chopped
⅓ cup currants
Sweet-and-sour tomato chutney (recipe follows)
1 to 2 oz. crumbled feta
Sweet-and-Sour Tomato Chutney (Yield: 1½ cups)
6 Roma tomatoes (about 1½ lb.), cut into 8 wedges each
1½ tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. plus ¾ cup sugar, divided
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1½ tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground ginger
⅛ tsp. cayenne
In separate batches, toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Shake pan frequently, and remove from heat as soon as the spices start crackling, about 5 minutes. Grind with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle; set aside to cool.
Next heat a large, wide sauté pan and add ¼ cup olive oil. Add onions and sauté over low-medium heat until caramelized, about 30 to 45 minutes. Add 2 tsp. salt, fold in leeks, and caramelize 10 additional minutes. Onions should be jammy but not too dark. Spread onto a sheet pan to cool (can make ahead and store in fridge for up to 3 days).
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 9-by-12-inch baking pan with parchment. Spread ¼ cup olive oil over parchment, and sprinkle with cubed butter. In a bowl, add bak- ing powder, ½ tsp. ground toasted cumin, 1 tsp. ground toasted coriander, turmeric, ginger, sweet paprika, dried fenugreek, 1½ tsp. salt, black pepper, and chopped herbs. Fold in the onions.
Place the pan in the oven to melt the butter. Fold beaten eggs into the herb mixture along with walnuts and currants, gently combining all ingredients. The mixture should be thick and a little glossy.
Remove pan from oven. Scrape egg-herb mixture onto pan. Spread it evenly with a spatula and then quickly push the mixture away from the sides of the pan, so the edges are somewhat rounded (because pan is warm, it will set quickly in this position).
Bake for 12 minutes, then check to see if the center is firm to the touch. (Can take longer depending on oven. Check every couple of minutes once it seems close.) Invert onto a larger sheet pan or cutting board. Cool completely at room temperature. Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.
Make the sweet-and-sour tomato chutney: Preheat oven to 250°F. In a bowl, toss tomato wedges with salt, 2 tsp. sugar, and olive oil. Place in an even layer, cut side down, on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Roast until they’re shriveled and most juice has evaporated, about 60 to 90 minutes. Cool completely. Meanwhile, combine ¾ cup sugar and apple cider vinegar in a small nonreactive pot. Simmer and stir until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature. Scrape tomatoes into a blender. Puree until just broken down. Add vinegar and spices. Puree until smooth. Refrigerate for several hours or up to 5 days. Taste and adjust salt if needed before serving at room temperature.
Before serving, warm briefly in a low oven if refrigerated, cut into bite-size cubes, and top with tomato chutney and crumbled feta.
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