Someone Else's Farm

June 28, 2010


Filed under: what we did — Tags: , , — M @ 13:33 PM

Spanakopita triangles

I present to you Saturday night’s dinner.

These are phyllo triangles, filled with a mixture of feta, chard (all of this week’s bunch), spinach (leftover from a bag we’d purchased before the CSA started and somehow mostly still good), and onion. The method was inspired by a recipe I found on the Food Network Web site, by Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken.And technically, I guess it would be more properly called spanakotyropita, as I used cheese inside as well as spinach. There should probably be another word in there as well, but I don’t have the foggiest idea what the Greek word for “chard” is.

To prep the chard, I cut the big stems out,  diced them, and set them aside, and I separately cut the leaves into very wide (like 2 inches wide) ribbons. To prep the spinach, I picked through the bag to remove all the slimy wilty bits from the good stuff. At the stove, I started by cooking the stems in a bit of olive oil until they were blistery and just a touch browned. After a while I added the chard leaves, and then at the very end the spinach I’d salvaged from the bag. When everything was nicely wilted, I moved it all into a bowl, let it cool down a tad, and squeezed the liquid out with my asbestos hands. I then chopped the whole shebang a bit more. No added salt needed; the feta would add plenty.

While the greens cooked and cooled, I diced an onion. The onion went into the pan (no need to wash it!) with a little more olive oil to soften and start to brown. Once that happened, I added the chopped greens, and kept it on the heat a touch longer, to get rid of as much liquid as I possibly could. And when the filling was cooked, I preheated the oven. No sense in heating the kitchen any sooner than need be! Finally, I put the cooked filling in a bowl, stirred it a little bit until it quit steaming, and mixed in about a third of a pound of crumbled French feta (yes, the same feta I’d gotten to go in the tacos.) I got a disher ready to go in the filling, and poured some olive oil into a dish with a pastry brush.

Finally, time to deal with phyllo. I realize the word phyllo strikes fear into many hearts. (Truth be told, I’d prefer to use homemade strudel dough, but not at 6 PM when the dining room table isn’t cleared off so I have no surface on which to stretch dough.) For me, though, phyllo is much easier than it used to be. Secret number 1 is to make sure the box spends ample time in the fridge, so it’s completely thawed when you’re ready to use it. Secret number 2 is to pick a humid day. And Secret number 3 is don’t let the dough sense your fear. Accordingly, I’d brought my box of dough home from the store on Friday, and put it into the refrigerator straightaway. When I opened it on a rainy Saturday evening, it was ready to go. And I didn’t even bother with waxed paper/damp paper towel coverings: too much work!

I worked with the phyllo straight off the stack. I brushed the rightmost third of the top sheet of dough (I’m left-handed) with the olive oil, and folded the right third over. Then I brushed the top of the folded portion with more oil, and folded the left portion over, to give me a triple-thick, one-third-wide strip of phyllo. I brushed the top of the strip with more oil, used the disher to plop on a scoop of filling, and folded the dough like a flag to make a triangle with the filling inside. The triangle got moved onto a sheet pan with a Silpat, leaving the stack of phyllo dough intact with a brand-new top sheet ready to go. My filling quantity made nine triangles. I’d thought I might have enough that I could freeze some of the triangles to bake later, but the chard cooked down enough that I decided to go ahead and bake them all. Thus, I brushed each triangle with more oil, and slid the pan into the preheated oven to bake for about half an hour, until the triangles were nicely browned on top and the insides were hot. Only one leaked, and just a little!

I had lots of phyllo left over. I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, but I need to figure it out soon. As for the leftover triangles, they’re today’s lunch.


1 Comment »

  1. A great way to use leftover phyllo is to use them as a “shell” for a rustic tart. I take about 8-10 sheet and one by one, lay them onto a silpat on top of each other. Brush each with melted butter and as you lay each sheet down, rotate it slightly so that you get kind of a loose approximation of a circle. Once you’ve built your base, you can literally fill it with whatever you’d like. In the summertime, I will put down a circle of herbed goat cheese that I’ve cut with some ricotta and then spread either grilled veggies or a mushroom duxelle. Then fold the edges in towards the center, brush the outside with more butter and bake until it’s all crispy and delicious. You can then serve it hot or room temperature.

    Comment by Tom — June 28, 2010 @ 14:00 PM

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