Monday, October 31, 2011

Spinach phyllo borekas

I don't claim to understand what counts as a boreka—the internet makes it look like almost any hand-held veggie- and/or cheese-filled flaky pastry with a vague connection to the Balkans or the Mediterranean could fall under that heading (although the spelling may vary). This one is pretty much like spanikopita, although I feel less comfortable claiming that name without Candace or Manos's approval. Regardless of what it's called, it's tasty and filling and not as heavy-feeling as you might expect. (At least with the amount of fat I used on the phyllo, i.e., the bare minimum.) Now, what to do with the rest of the phyllo?

1 medium zucchini (3/4 lb)
few dashes of salt
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion
5 cloves garlic
12 oz spinach
2 T pesto
1 T sherry
1 egg
1/2 c pinenuts
4 oz feta (1 c crumbled)
pepper and paprika to taste
9 13"x17" sheets phyllo dough (defrosted if needed) (half a Safeway pack)
2 T melted butter + several T olive oil

Grate the zucchini, toss it with some salt in a colander, and let sit until you need it. Give the spinach a rinse, and let it sit in another colander. Mince the onion and start sauteing it in the olive oil in a large pan. Mince the garlic, squeeze any liquid out of the zucchini, and add both to the pan. Continue to saute while you chop the spinach. When the zucchini liquid has cooked off, add the spinach, pesto, and sherry to the pan, and cook over medium heat until most of the liquid has cooked off (about 20 minutes). Turn off the heat and let sit at room temperature to cool down and dry off a bit more, about half an hour.

When you're ready to start forming the pastries, mix the rest of the filling ingredients (egg through paprika) into the veggies. Prepare a large ungreased baking sheet, two damp dishtowels, a large work surface, melted butter mixed with olive oil, and a pastry brush. Lay the stack of phyllo sheets on the surface and cut into 3"x17" strips by cutting through the whole stack with a sharp knife. Cover whatever phyllo you're not actively using with one of the damp dishtowels. Take one strip of phyllo from the top of the stack, brush it lightly with butter+oil, lay a second strip on top of the first, and brush that one with butter+oil too. Put 1-2 T of filling at one end of the phyllo and fold up in triangles like you're a patriotic American folding a flag or like you're Brandi making samosas (steps 3 and 4 here). Place on the baking sheet and cover with the second dishtowel. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling, making 18 triangles total. Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes until golden. Roast some padrons and pumpkin seeds at the same time, and serve to Lester and Pat between carving pumpkins.

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