Kuku Sabzi: Persian Herb Frittata

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A kuku is a Persian-style frittata, but heavier on the filling and lighter on the eggs than you might expect. Persian cuisine has many kuku recipes, but kuku sabzi is the version served at Persian New Year—full of herbs and greens, studded with chopped walnuts and barberries, which are small, tart, dried fruit. You can find barberries— zereshk in Persian—at Mediterranean markets (alternately, use cranberries—fresh or unsweetened dried—as a substitute). The spice blend advieh is available at World Spice Merchants here in Seattle, but the dish is also tasty if made without.

Serves 8 | start to finish: 1 hour (active time: 30 minutes)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup barberries (or cranberries: 1/4 cup unsweetened dried; 1/2 cup fresh or frozen)
2 1/2 cups chopped leeks, green part only
1 cup cilantro, stems removed
1 1/2 cups parsley, stems removed
1/2 cup chives or garlic chives
1/2 cup herbs—basil, tarragon, dill, or mixed, according to preference
1 cup mixed salad greens, torn into small pieces
6 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (use rice flour for gluten-free)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon advieh spice blend

Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a 1 1/2 quart baking dish before setting aside (a 10 1/2 inch round tart or pie pan works well).

Put the barberries (or dried cranberries) in a small bowl and pour enough boiling water over to cover (this is not necessary if using fresh or frozen). Let them sit for 5 minutes before pouring water off. If using cranberries, chop coarsely.

Place the leeks in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add parsley, cilantro, chives, and mixed herbs and continue to process until fully incorporated. Scrape the herbs into a medium-size mixing bowl, adding the salad greens, barberries, and walnuts. Mix to combine with a spoon or using your hands. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, pepper, and advieh (if using), and continue to mix well.

In a small bowl, beat eggs until blended and add to herb mixture, stirring to combine. Scrape the mixture into the buttered baking dish and dot the surface with the remaining butter. Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes, or until the surface of the kuku has dried and the center is fully set. Let cool before cutting and serving.

vegetarian • gluten-free (if made with rice flour)

Recipe from the story Celebrating Spring, Edible Seattle, March/April, 2014.


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