Lentil Walnut Pâté
Makes about 3 cups, 8 – 10 appetizer-sized servings
Miso, umeboshi paste and mirin can all be found in hippy health food stores/Whole Foods in the Asian foods aisle, or at Asian (Japanese) markets. Look for miso that is stored in the refrigerator rather than shelf stable, as it will contain all the beneficial bacteria and probiotics of which miso is full. Don’t worry about the pâté’s lack of salt – the miso and umeboshi paste both contain the salt needed to give the pâté just the right amount of flavor.
3/4 cup dried green lentils (lentils de puy)
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons olive oil (divided use)
1 small, yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon mirin
1 1/4 cups walnuts, toasted (for 10 – 12 minutes at 350º) and cooled
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, basil or parsley, plus extra for garnish, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, oregano or marjoram, chopped
3 tablespoons yellow miso
1 1/2 tablespoons umeboshi paste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
extra olive oil, for drizzling
In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until the lentils are very tender (but not falling apart), 20 – 30 minutes. Drain, discard the bay leaf, and cool completely (you can speed this up by spreading the lentils out on a plate and sticking them in the fridge).
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirring frequently and reducing the heat if necessary, until the onions are golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the mirin and remove from the heat. Cool completely (to speed up the process, see lentils, above).
Place the toasted and cooled walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and puree until it looks like nut butter, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the cooled lentils and the onion mixture and puree smooth. Add in the herbs, miso, umeboshi, pepper, and remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and blend until smooth.
Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Drizzle with olive oil and chopped fresh herbs, and serve with crackers or sliced baguette and cornichons or olives.