Middle Eastern cuisine is famous for its rich flavors and liberal use of garlic, lemon and spices…cumin and coriander, anyone? The fact that almost every town boasts a Middle Eastern restaurant also testifies to the cuisine’s universal appeal. (When I was living in Germany, my favorite dish was the Turkish Döner Kebap. My second-favorite was the slightly-more-traditional Currywurst.)
This trio of delights features a chickpea terrine (top), a carrot salad with goat cheese and baby spinach (right), and a fattoush salad (bottom). Since fattoush and carrot salads are standard Middle Eastern fare, I’ll focus on the chickpea terrine, a hearty dish that can easily serve as the main course. This recipe will provide two diners with plenty to enjoy; increase the amounts as you see fit. You can make it several hours–or even a day!–in advance and store it in the refrigerator. (Be sure to let it come back to room temperature an hour or so before serving.) It can be eaten straight from the dish or served with pita/toasted pita chips.
Chickpea Terrine with Figs & Blueberries
1 sweet potato, cut into chunks and boiled to tenderness (8-10 minutes)
1 15-oz. can of chickpeas, drained
1 T. butter
1 tsp. sea salt
Spread in the bottom of a 9″ round baking dish or any other dish with medium-high to high sides.
Sauteé in a T. of butter:
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
Several handfuls of baby spinach, sliced into ribbons
3 T. pine nuts
3 dried figs, chopped
1 T. dried blueberries 1 tsp. za’atar spice mix
Remove from heat and stir in:
1 T. tahini
Carefully spoon onion mixture on top of the chickpea-and-potato mash. If you’d like, sprinkle on some crumbled Feta cheese and/or garnish with halved cherry tomatoes.