Phyllo pastry with goat cheese and spinach

Posted: November 24, 2012 in lacto-ovo vegetarian recipes
Tags: , ,

Everybody says phyllo is a pain in the butt.  They sure are right, but it was worth a try.

I love Greens Restaurant in San Francisco.  Mark took me there on our engagement trip, which made me blissfully happy.  This is, however, a deeply snooty cookbook.  It’s Thanksgiving, so I thought I would try snooty, because when else will I have the automatic excuse?

source:  The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison

vegetarian, gluten ?

  • 1/2 pckg frozen filo pastry
  • 1 c walnuts, freshly cracked if possible
  • 2 to 3 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves, finely chopped or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp marjoram, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c white wine or water
  • 1 lg bunch spinach or chard, washed and finely shredded
  • 8 oz goat cheese (Montrachet, Boucheron, Lezay)
  • 2/3 c ricotta
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Remove filo pastry from freezer and let it come to room temp while you prepare the filling.  Unfold the dough, and cut the stack of sheets in two.  If you are making just one recipe, refold half the dough, and wrap it in plastic.  It can either be frozen or kept for a few days in the fridge.  Cover the sheets to be used with a sheet of waxed paper covered in turn with a damp kitchen towel, to keep them from becoming dry and brittle.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Roast the walnuts for 5 to 8 minutes until they are fragrant; chop them finely, and set them aside.  Rinse the leeks, and shake off the excess water.  Heat the butter in a large skillet, and saute the leeks for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the garlic, some salt and freshly ground black pepper, and the herbs.  Stir to combine, add the wine or water, and cook slowly, covered, until the leeks are soft.  Add the spinach, toss with the leeks, then re-cover and cook until the spinach is wilted.

Remove the veggies to a bowl, and combine them with the goat cheese, ricotta, and eggs.  Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.

Brush a 9 by 13 by 2 inch pan with the melted butter and lay down a sheet of the filo pastry.  Brush pastry with butter and continue layering and buttering until you have used half the sheets, scattering half of the chopped walnuts between several of the pastry sheets.  Brush the top sheet with butter and spread the filling over it.  Continue layering the rest of the pastry sheets, buttering each sheet, and again distritributing nuts between several of the sheets.

Cut the pastry into 3 inch squares, then diagonally into diamonds, making sure you cut through all the layers; refrigerate the pastry if you will not be baking it right away.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until browned.  Serve the pastries warm from the oven, slightly cooled or at room temp.  For a wine, serve a dry sauvignon blanc.

Okay, so I have completely the wrong size pan, and my pastry might become a gooey mess.  This smells wonderful, but because my pastry dough sheets were too long for 9 x 13, I cut the sheets in half.  That made them much too small for the pan, so the gooey cheesy stuff is oozing off the sides. 

If it ends up being a flop, nobody will ever know that I tried it, right?

So, it sort of worked?  They are messy, but they smell wonderful.  The nibbles I’ve had so far are tasty, too.  It’s SO buttery.  Worth experimenting with more another time, also.



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