Sunday, January 17, 2010


we love this little treat as an appetizer or for lunch with a salad. i used to buy it prepared in those aluminum trays that you just bake, but the last ones i got were just so oily i was put off. the filling was fine, but that tray had a puddle of fat in the bottom, and the dough was anything but crispy, laden with it. not to mention you save a lot if you make it yourself.

the only important thing to remember is phyllo dough dries quickly so you have to work fast. plan to make this when you'll have no interruptions. i made the filling while my daughter was drinking her milk before the nap, thinking that'll be enough to finish. it's like she knows when i need her to be good and take a long nap - she slept for a half hour. so i just baked one dozen and froze the rest. it's great, actually. cause then you can just bake it on a whim.

1 pack phyllo
2 packs frozen spinach
5 strips bacon
4 medium onions
5 garlic cloves
1/2 lb feta cheese
1 ts herbs de provence
salt, pepper,

defrost the phyllo overnight in the fridge or 5 hours at room temp. the bacon was an incidental discovery. one day as i was making this i realized my favourite saute pan which i use for the onion was occupied by some bacon i was frying to make a turkey club for my husband. i figured, how bad can it be, to fry the onion in the rendered fat? so now that's how i always make it. i always have a million uses for bacon, that's never going to waste. so fry 5 strips and remove. finely slice the onion and add to the hot fat. add a pinch of salt, pepper and herbs. saute over low heat for about 10 minutes. while that's happening, defrost the spinach in the microwave and drain very well. mince the garlic or use a press if you've got one that actually works. add it to the onion and mix. cook two minutes. mind that you don't burn it, you'll have to toss everything because it gets very bitter. [taps pen against teeth: don't ask how i know that.] in goes the spinach, mix and turn off the heat. crumble the feta and mix it thoroughly in the spinach. let cool completely.
while that cool, set your work space for the assembly. line a surface with plastic wrap and place the phyllo dough on it. immediatly cover with wrap and moist paper towels on top. melt some butter and have it ready. your workspace needs to be clean and completely dry. if you have 7mm dough 2 sheets are enough. if you 5mm use 3. so take the sheets and lay them flat, its lenght parallel to the counter. (be sure to cover the rest.) brush the edges with melted butter. cut in 5 strips and place a dab of spinach on each.

bring the left corner over the filling to form a triangle. then you just keep 'rolling' the triangle upwards and you get a pocket sealed on all sides. that's how long ago a dear friend taught me to roll up shopping bags so i'd always have on in my bag. read the picture right-to-left:

i started on the right.the one on the left has a single upward turn to be complete.
preheat oven to 400F. brush with eggwash or melted butter and spinkle some sesame seeds. bake for 20 minutes. serve hot or room temp. to freeze, put them on baking sheet and put the whole thing in the freezer until they're frozen solid. you can then transfer  to a bag. bake from frozen at 425F for 25 minutes. freeze any leftover dough, just roll it up as is in the plastic wrap. it'll be easy to unroll when you defrost it.
i really like this, throw a green salad with it and it's a nice meal. spinach and feta were just made for each other, and the garlicky backdrop doesn't hurt one bit. and it's all stuffed in a crispy, light pocket. yum.

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