Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Food For A Summer Pic Nic

Inspired by Ina Garten and feeling like I wanted to eat something that wasn't about meat because the meat thing gets so old. I was missing Best Friend and our afternoons eating Greek. They closed down the little greek place I love so much, made it a mundane lunch and dinner place full of nothing special. So if you are looking for something summer to eat that you can eat cold as well as hot and is beyond simple, this is it.

The best part of this is that you don't need to measure anything really. I started with some fillo dough sheets, two different kinds, two different thicknesses, the thick on the bottom. No need to butter a cookie sheet, nothing to measure here. Just start with a few sheets of dough, and then a little misting of melted butter and a little olive oil, and some defrosted frozen spinach that you will have to squeeze the water out of with your hands. On top of that a little crumbled feta and a smidge of garlic and chopped dill (mine from the garden) and scallions both the white and green cut up. Now sprinkle all the layers except for the top layer with a little bread crumbs to bind it together. Now if you are full of adventure you can add sun dried tomatoes, or some roasted red pepper. The sky is the limit here I wouldn't add more than a few extras because you don't want to hide the spinach of the feta.

Then you'll need a few more sheets of the filo and another layer of the spinach/cheese fun. Don't add too much dill, it will destroy everything and if you are feeling especially summer, cut a lemon and squeeze some of that juice over the top, another layer of the fillo dough a few sheets and some more melted butter. I take the top layer and spread a little of the melted butter and then some egg wash to give it some color as I do not like the fillo dough too crunchy.

Bake at 350 for about 36 minutes you are just really cooking the dough, everything else is already cooked. Ina mixes in some turkey sausage and makes a wonderful dipping sauce but I wasn't in the mood for a summer heavy sauce or rolling it up. I am going to put her recipe below though because she is the mother of all good cooking and watching her is a sublime way to spend a summer afternoon.


* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 1 bunch chopped scallions, white and green parts
* 2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
* 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
* 7 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 40 sheets (1 box) frozen phyllo dough (such as Pepperidge Farm), defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
* 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
* 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the scallions. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a bowl. Add the scallions, dill, eggs, feta, salt, and pepper and mix together.

Keep the phyllo dough sheets covered with a damp kitchen towel. Unfold 1 sheet of the phyllo dough. Brush the sheet with melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Repeat the process by laying a second sheet of phyllo dough over the first sheet, brush it with melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs until all 10 sheets have been used. Spoon 3/4 cup of the spinach mixture into a sausage shape along one edge of the phyllo dough. Roll it up. Brush the top with butter and score the roll into 1-inch rounds. Place it on an oiled baking sheet. Repeat until all the pastry and filling have been used.

Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Serve warm.

bon appetite!

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