Arbol chili peppers can pack a lot of heat, so if you prefer, omit them from the cooking process and add a dash of cayenne pepper to the finished pâté instead.
Make Ahead: The pâté can be made, covered and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance.
Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 cups
- 2 tablespoons raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
- Sea salt
- 1 teaspoon caraway seed
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 medium (8 ounces) carrots
- 1 dried arbol chili pepper, split in half lengthwise, seeds discarded (see headnote)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1-inch piece ginger root, preferably young
- 2 teaspoons white or brown rice miso
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Soak the sunflower seeds in a small bowl with water to cover for 30 minutes; drain. Mash to a paste with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle.
While the sunflower seeds are soaking, toast the caraway seed in a small skillet over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant. Grind with a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle and allow to cool.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and golden and reduced in volume by about two-thirds. Add the caraway seed, remove the skillet from the heat, cover and cool.
Peel the carrots and cut them into pieces approximately 1/2 inch by 1 inch. Transfer to a large saucepan or small Dutch oven and add 1 teaspoon of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the chili pepper and the water. Bring almost to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the carrots are easily pierced with the tip of a knife, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool.
Peel the ginger root and cut it into 1 or 2 pieces. Use the flat side of a knife to mash it completely flat, then mince; alternately, grate the ginger root.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the carrots to the bowl of a food processor (discard the chili pepper). Add the onion, ginger, sunflower seed paste, the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of oil, and the miso, and process until smooth and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the lemon juice and pulse to combine. Taste, and add salt if needed.
From Washington food writer Emily Horton.
Tested by Jane Touzalin.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.