1 packed cup finely chopped spinach (about 3 ounces)
1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed, and thinly sliced crosswise
1/3 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
18 large eggs
Makes:8 to 12 servings
Closely related to an Arab eggah and a distant relative to the Italian frittata, kuku is a simple yet elegant dish. It takes ingredients familiar to most Westerners (spinach, cilantro, cumin, cardamom) and combines them for a decidedly Persian flavor. If you’ve thought Persian food is too exotic for your tastes, consider this a starter dish. And if you are already a fan of the cuisine, serve this with salad or yogurt or eat it on its own for your next culinary adventure.
What to buy:
In a traditional kuku, the Persian herb mixture known as advieh is used. Advieh is a blend of numerous herbs, the most common of which are cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, and dried rose petals. Instead of having you search it out, we approximated the flavor by leaving out the dried rose petals and using ingredients you probably already have in your spice drawer.
1Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with clarified butter or vegetable oil; set aside.
2Mix together salt, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and pepper in a large bowl until evenly combined. Add spinach, leek, parsley, and cilantro and mix until evenly coated.
3In a second large bowl, whisk eggs until yolks are broken up. Pour egg mixture over greens and mix until evenly combined.
4Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake until firm in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes. Slice into 8 to 12 pieces and serve warm or cold.
Beverage pairing:Bodegas 1+1=3 Brut Cava, Spain. A complex-tasting dish like this needs a wine that won’t stand in its way. The bubbles and acid of this dry cava lift the heaviness of the eggs, while its clean, brisk flavors don’t obscure the spices.