I'm always a little intimidated with phyllo sheets - they are so tender, so delicate. So not my type. But I'm equally intrigued by the possibilities they bring along with them. Baklava, for instance. But, I don't think I have it in me to add that much of sugar and nuts and fat and calories to a dish..fully knowing that I will end up eating most of it if I ever make it. I might even hide it from the world and tell everyone that the baklava got burnt in the oven.
But until then, I'll take my first baby steps trying something a little more healthy. Yes. Healthy.
And so I pick Gorgeous Spinach with Low Fat Ricotta cheese and some darling Tomatoes! That's healthy, right?
So, Come Join Me - in the quest to use up the phyllo sheets in my fridge before they dry out and I have to feed the ducks.
Come join me - in proving to myself that phyllo sheets can really be used to make something other than baklava.
Come join me - in taking a few steps into the world of 'They're just phyllo sheets - they're not monsters that will eat you alive'
Come join me.
Let's get started with the mission today.
Heat a tsp of oil in a wide pan and when hot, add about 3-4 chopped garlic pods. Fry for a min.
Then, add about 1 medium onions chopped into small pieces. Fry for a couple of mins until the onions turn translucent. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
Now, add about 2 cups of chopped spinach. I added frozen chopped spinach - a whole 8oz pack of it to the onions. Cook for just about a min.
Move the onion-spinach mix to a wide mixing bowl.
Add 2 small tomatoes - deseeded and chopped into little bits.
Now, add low fat Ricotta cheese to the spinach and tomato mix. About 1 and 1/2 cups of ricotta cheese. You could also use Feta cheese here instead of Ricotta. Either one tastes good!
Mix well until combined.
Now, add some sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. The filling is ready.
In a wide baking sheet, take a couple of phyllo wraps and spread out. If they don't spread out to the full length of the baking sheet, use two sheets overlapping each other so that the baking sheet is completely covered.
While you are working this, make sure the rest of the phyllo wrappers are covered with a wet kitchen towel so that they don't dry out. These dry pretty fast and that happening is truly a motivation killer. So, take care and be wise.
Brush the sheets with a little bit of olive oil. If you are feeling rich, you can most definitely use butter in here. I'm not responsible for those love handles that appear later. You are warned.
We will also need breadcrumbs to add in between the layers. You could use the ready made store bought breadcrumbs - or like me, can make it in a couple of mins. Just toast a few pieces of bread in your toaster and use a dry mixie and grind to fine crumbs. Voila..that's ready. I bet that takes less time than trying to navigate the grocery stores looking for bread crumbs!
On top of each layer after it has been brushed with oil, sprinkle a little of the bread crumbs. This adds a whole lot of bite to the tarts while eating. Trust me.
Repeat this process for atleast 8-10 times or more depending upon how many sheets you have. Layer each sheet, brush with oil and top with breadcrumbs.
Finally, add the spinach cheese mixture in here and spread it out slowly.
Like this - make sure there is an even layer of spinach and that you haven't missed any spots anywhere.
Now, arrange some slices of tomatoes on top of the spinach before sending it off to the oven.
Also, make sure that the edges are well oiled and not dry.You could roll the edges a little for an even more pretty tart.
You could also use asparagus on top - or artichokes or even mushrooms as a topper. All of those blend well with the taste of spinach and ricotta cheese.
Move to a pre heated oven at 400F. Bake for about 15 mins or until you see the sides turn golden. When you think its almost ready, turn the oven on broil for exactly 2 mins and not for longer. This helps with the tomato slices getting a quick crisp just before its out.
There's our phyllo pie right out of the oven! Wish you could smell my kitchen now! Smells divine!
There it is people. Take a deep breath. Thank our beautiful nature for giving us tomatoes and spinach.
Cut into small squares for serving.
Serve hot - I mean hot as in straight from the oven hot.
These tasted real good. And what tasted better was my victory over phyllo sheets.
Bring it on Baklava.
Enjoy. Peace Out!