Spinach with Brown Butter, Yogurt and Dukka


If you have never tasted dukkah, you have a treat in store. Made from finely ground nuts (usually almonds or hazelnuts), sesame seed, cumin and coriander—all toasted separately and then combined—dukkah is used in Egypt, its home base, mostly as a condiment. Diners dip chunks of bread in olive oil, then in the dukkah—a snack for the gods. For a quick lunch, sprinkle dukkah on yogurt with olive oil and dip in with cucumbers or pita chips. In this recipe, I shower it over buttery spinach and yogurt—a warm first course to scoop up with flatbread or a side dish for grilled lamb. From Yogurt.

  • 1-1/2 cups plain drained yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 3 large bunches fresh spinach, enough to yield 1-1/2 pounds (4 packed quarts) of stemmed leaves
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons dukkah (see recipe introduction)
  • Medium-hot coarse red pepper, such as Aleppo or Maraş pepper, or hot paprika
  • Warm pita or other soft flatbread

Whisk the yogurt, garlic, and salt to taste. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

 Remove thick spinach stems; if they are slim and tender, you can leave them attached. Wash the leaves well —they can be sandy—and drain. Put the leaves in a large pot with just the wash water clinging to them. Cover and cook over medium heat, tossing with tongs once or twice, until the leaves wilt. Drain in a sieve or colander and chill with cold running water. Drain again and squeeze dry.

 Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter begins to brown and smell nutty, add the spinach. Season to taste with salt and toss well with tongs to coat the spinach with the butter. Keep hot.

Divide the yogurt among 4 to 6 plates, spreading it into a pool. With tongs, divide the spinach among the plates, placing it on the yogurt. Scatter 1/2 tablespoon dukkah over each portion, then garnish with a sprinkle of red pepper. Serve with flatbread or pita.

Serves 4 as a first course, 6 as a side dish