My favorite thing about traveling is the food. And of all the places I’ve traveled, I love the food in Greece the best. I really don’t know much about Greek food except that I have loved everything I’ve ever tasted. I don’t even have any Greek cookbooks (I really need to do something about that!). But I do occasionally create “Greek-inspired” dishes and snacks.
This “Greek-inspired” snack came about because I’ve never baked with phyllo (filo) sheets before and I decided it was about time I try! I bought the phyllo last week and it has been sitting in my freezer since. What finally spurred me on was a recipe over at La Tartine Gourmande. The recipe Bea used was pretty different than the one I ultimately used but as soon as I get my hands on some goat cheese and fresh mint, I plan to try the Feta and Mint Cigarettes. What I had on hand was frozen spinach and feta cheese so that became the base of my filling and I’ve found that you really can’t go wrong with spinach and feta!
It will probably be a while before I attempt some baklava but these Spinach-Feta Turnovers were pretty easy to put together, even for a phyllo virgin. The worst thing that happened was I tried to unroll the sheets before they had completely defrosted and accidentally broke about three inches of the end of the stacked sheets. To keep the sheets from drying out, I covered them with a paper towel and then spritzed it with water occasionally to keep it damp. It worked pretty well and that way I didn’t have to dampen one of my big kitchen towels.
Well here’s the recipe I used for these yummy, flaky, spinach-feta treats:
Spinach and Feta Turnovers
1/2 onion, chopped
1 T. butter
2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
1 package frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed dry
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
dash of fresh-grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
pinch of salt
20 sheets store-bought phyllo dough
1/2 C. butter, melted
1. In a small skillet, saute onion in butter over medium heat until soft. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds and then remove from heat.
2. In a medium bowl, combine spinach, feta, egg, onion and garlic, nutmeg, pepper and salt. Stir until well combined. Set aside.
3. Remove one sheet of phyllo from stack (cover the remaining sheets with a damp cloth to keep from drying out) and lay it on a work surface. Brush entire sheet with a thin layer of melted butter. Place another sheet on top, brush with butter and repeat two more times (you will have four sheets stacked with a layer of butter on the top sheet). Cut this stack in half lenghwise with a knife.
4. You now have two long rectangles of phyllo in front of you. Place about 2 Tablespoonfuls of filling on the bottom right side of one of the rectangles. Fold the bottom left corner up and over the filling so that the bottom edge is now even with the right side. Continue folding up and over until you end up with a triangle. Brush triangle with melted butter and place on a baking sheet.
5. Repeat this procedure with the other phyllo rectangle.
6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have 10 triangles on your baking sheet.
7. Place baking sheet in preheated 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Cool on wire rack and eat either warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 10 turnovers
Note: These can also be made as bite-size appetizers. Proceed with the recipe as directed except instead of cutting the stacks of phyllo in half lengthwise, cut them crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Use only one spoonful of filling for each strip and roll up just as directed for the larger ones. You will end up with 20 small turnovers, perfect for a party!