- Course: Antipasto/Mezze, Hors D'oeuvre
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 6 Times
Can be made ahead of time.
This recipe was inspired by my friend Armen Mehrabyan, who lives in Armenia, where he grows and harvests wild herbs that he makes into teas and essential oils. Armen supplies many of Oleana’s teas as well as some of our wild cooking herbs. He also researches ancient Armenian recipes, and he prepared this one-whipped beans and nuts in a bowl sprinkled with pomegranate seeds-during one of his visits to America.
I altered the recipe a little, because I like to serve it in a log that can be sliced and presented as a vegetarian pâté. At Oleana, we serve this dish with shoushan’s homemade string cheese as a bread condiment or hors d'oeuvres.
Pomegranate season comes in the late fall and runs through the winter. When fresh pomegranates are not available, you can dot each piece of pâté with a drop of pomegranate molasses to impart a lemony tartness.
1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the beans to a boil with the water, onion, and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, until the beans are very tender. Skim off any white foam that forms at the top as the beans cook.
2. Drain the beans into a colander and discard the bay leaf.
3. While the beans are still warm, toss them with the walnuts, garlic, and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper. You will need at least 1½ teaspoons of salt. Stir until everything is combined and the butter has softened and is evenly distributed throughout.
4. Puree the mixture in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, until smooth and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes. You should have a thick bean puree or paste.
5. In a small mixing bowl, mix the herbs together and then blend half of them into the beans.
6. Spread the puree ¼ to ½ inch thick onto a small baking sheet, lined with plastic wrap. Cool completely at room temperature, for at least 30 minutes.
7. Sprinkle the puree generously with the ¼ cup pomegranate seeds and remaining fresh herbs, and then roll the puree into a log from one end to the other, using the plastic wrap to help roll.
8. Wrap the log tightly in plastic wrap and chill it again for 2 hours or overnight.
9. Cut the log into ½-to 1-inch-thtck slices and garnish with walnuts and pomegranate seeds.
To make toasted nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, pine nuts, pisachios, and walnuts, toss whole, blanched or skinless nuts in a little extra-virgin olive oil and roast them in a 350°F oven until they are golden brown (8 to 10 minutes: pine nuts take only 5 to 6 minutes). You can also saute them with olive oil over medium heat, constancy stirring until they start to pop and turn golden brown. Sprinkle the toasted nuts generously with salt, and serve them warm or at room temperature-not hot.