The recipe, from my new book, Mediterranean Hot and Spicy, is my adaptation of an Armenian dish. As an alternative to the traditional pita bread, I prefer to spread the salad on toasted whole wheat or multigrain bread rubbed with a cut clove of garlic. It can also be a side dish, accompanying poached or grilled fish or chicken.
Photo by Aglaia Kremezi
Makes about 3 cups
• 11/2 pounds spinach leaves, coarsely chopped • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro • 3 cups thick yogurt, preferably sheep's milk
• 2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced, to taste • 1 to 3 jalapeño chiles, finely chopped, to taste
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/ 2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Wash the spinach in a saucepan and place it over high heat. Cover and steam it until wilted in the water that clings to the leaves, 2 to 3 minutes. Toss once or twice while cooking and be careful not to let it burn.
Remove the spinach from the heat, turn it into a colander, and let it cool and drain. Press with your hands to remove as much liquid as possible. Finely chop the spinach and transfer to a bowl.
Add the parsley, cilantro, yogurt, garlic, and chiles, stirring well. Add a little salt, taste, and add more if necessary along with a little black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Spread on toasts, sprinkle with walnuts, and serve as an appetizer or transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with walnuts.