Here is a delicious and impressive pate made up of layers of carrot pure, minced leeks, and minced spinach. It is not as complicated to prepare as it appears, and a little goes a long way. I like to simplify the preparation by cooking the vegetables on one day and assembling the pate on the next day. Whichever way you choose to do it, this beautiful pate is well worth the effort. In addition to serving it as an appetizer, I also like to serve it for lunch along with a cup of soup and well-made crusty bread. Read about purchasing spinach under Spinach Custard Ring with Tomato Cream Sauce.

MAKES 1 LARGE LOAF (ABOUT 10 SERVINGS)

CARROT LAYER

1 pound carrots (9 medium), thinly sliced

2 eggs

Вј cup heavy or whipping cream

1 tablespoon honey

ВЅ teaspoon ground coriander

в…› teaspoon cinnamon

ВЅ teaspoon salt

Liberal seasoning freshly ground pepper

ВЅ cup Bread Crumbs

LEEK LAYER

4 medium to large leeks (with 2 inches of green top)

2 tablespoons butter

2 eggs

Вј cup Bread Crumbs

Вј cup heavy or whipping cream

ВЅ teaspoon salt

Liberal seasoning freshly ground pepper

SPINACH LAYER

2 pounds loose fresh spinach (weight with stems), or two 10-ounce packages fresh spinach, cleaned thoroughly and stemmed, or two 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach

2 eggs

ВЅ cup heavy or whipping cream

Вј cup Bread Crumbs

Вј cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried basil

ВЅ teaspoon salt

A few dashes cayenne pepper

HERB MAYONNAISE

1 cup Mayonnaise

Вѕ cup yogurt

Вј cup minced fresh parsley

ВЅ teaspoon mixed dried herbs (I like crushed fennel seed, basil, thyme, and tarragon)

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Parsley sprigs for garnish

  1. Butter a 1ВЅ-quart loaf pan and line with wax paper. Butter the wax paper.
  2. Cook (preferably steam) the carrots until very tender, then drain thoroughly. Pure them in a blender or food processor along with the eggs, cream, honey, coriander, cinnamon, salt, and pepper until very smooth. Stir in the bread crumbs, then spoon into the loaf pan and smooth over the top.
  3. Cut the roots off the leeks and cut off all but 2 inches of the top green part. Slit each one lengthwise almost all the way through to the other side, then open each leek and thoroughly rinse under cold running water to rid them of all of their dirt. Finger through the leaves to find hidden dirt. Pat dry and then thinly slice; you need 6 cups sliced.
  4. In a large skillet melt the butter and saut the leeks for 10 minutes, or until tender. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, then add the leeks, bread crumbs, cream, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Spoon this mixture over the carrot layer, then smooth over the top.
  5. Put the spinach in a large pot with just the water that clings to it, and cook until it wilts. Drain in a colander and let sit until cool enough to handle. Squeeze the spinach in your hands until all of the liquid is removed. (If you are using frozen spinach then either let it thaw completely and squeeze dry, or cook until thawed and squeeze dry.) Mince the spinach very fine (do not pure it).
  6. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, then add the spinach, cream, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, basil, salt, and cayenne pepper, and mix well. Spoon this mixture over the leek mixture and smooth over the top.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350В°F. Cover the top of the pate with a sheet of buttered wax paper, then cover that with a sheet of foil. Place the loaf in a larger baking pan, and pour in enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake for 1ВЅ hours, or until a knife inserted in the center of the pate comes out clean. Remove the loaf pan from the water bath, peel away the foil and wax paper, then cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.
  8. To unmold place a large plate or platter over the pate and invert. Remove the loaf pan, then peel away the wax paper. Let sit for 20 minutes at room temperature, then cover with foil and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 48 hours before serving.
  9. Meanwhile make the herb mayonnaise. Combine all of the ingredients (except the parsley sprigs) in a medium bowl and stir until well blended. Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving to thicken and develop the flavors.
  10. To serve, slice the pate into Вѕ-inch-thick slices and place each slice on a small serving plate. Spoon a few spoonfuls of herb mayonnaise next to the pate and garnish the sauce with a sprig of parsley.