People keep asking what I have planned for the fourth of July. I have to bite my tongue to stop myself from asking "when is it again?" which is a silly question, when really I mean "what day is it?" We don't really have anything planned at this stage - American holidays tend to creep up on us a little, because we aren't used to when they are. Which often makes for a surprise day off or extended weekend, which often ends up with us working anyway, because self employed life means that things like that happen.
There is a possibility that we will be doing food with friends in a park somewhere. I take picnics and party food incredibly seriously, and will often end up going way, way overboard with whatever I am bringing, much to the delight of our friends. Let's watch that happen again. Every time - it's a classic me move.
This year we will be adding these filo triangles to the repertoire. I have been making these as a main dish for a while now - they used to be our 'treat' dinner when I was living with a load of boys at university. One of my flatmates (housemates) used to work at a pizza place, and would fill up rubber gloves with the expensive ingredients we were too stingy to buy, so would come home with gloves filled with pine nuts and dried cranberries, and they would sometimes also get added to the mix. These filo triangles are a pared down version of this - filled with spinach, feta, mushroom and pesto, they would make a perfect fourth of July or summer party appetizer. They can be prepared ahead of time and reheated, or eaten at room temperature.
Part of the reason I started this blog was to give an insight into how to make your own food from scratch. This was fueled by the frustration of moving from New Zealand, land of the fresh ingredients and well stocked supermarkets, to the middle of Brooklyn, and having a really tough time adjusting to the food. My coping mechanism was to just start making everything myself. Sauces, aioli, pastry, pasta, you name it, I worked out how to make it. Including pesto. Pesto was probably the one I struggled the most with - I can whip it up easily myself, but I just missed being able to grab a jar from the fridge to throw into things. The pesto in my supermarket was on the shelf, not the fridge section, and was mainly cheese with a faint whiff of basil.
Enter pesto from Blue Moose. This stuff is insanely good, it tastes just like what I make at home, and it now has a permanent spot in our fridge. I put it through some serious paces and it passed all of the tests. I love it over pasta with roast tomatoes, as the base of a pizza, as a dipping sauce, and in appetizers such as these filo triangles. The never ending cycle of bringing home loads of basil, not getting around to making pesto in time then guiltily throwing out said basil has ended.
These filo triangles are the perfect snack or party appetizer - they are a huge hit every time I make them (Rich has eaten every single one of them, and i've made them 3 days in a row). A simple mixture of onions, garlic, mushrooms and wilted spinach is cooked down in a pan. A container of pesto is then stirred through, followed by a healthy dose of feta. They are then wrapped up into little triangle shaped packages, brushed with oil and banged in the oven until flaky, golden and delicious.
A few wee notes:
- The size of your triangles will vary depending on the dimensions of your filo pastry. Mine was similar in size to an A4 piece of paper, so I divided it in half lengthways. If yours is a different dimension, feel free to change the size of the strips that you use - just make sure that you leave enough length to get enough rolls in so that the filling doesn't bust out the side.
- If you change the size be aware this may also affect cooking time - adjust accordingly. They are done when the filo is golden brown and flaky. It will take less time than you expect!
- I used frozen filo dough from the store - once you open it, place the pieces waiting to be used under a very slightly damp tea towel to ensure that they don't dry out before you get around to using them.
- I use olive oil in a mister bottle to spray between the layers, but butter or another oil works just as well too!
- I wilted the spinach in the microwave - if you don't have one you can steam instead before chopping.
Spinach, feta, mushroom and pesto filo triangles
- Makes approx. 16 -
1 lb (450g) spinach leaves, roughly chopped.
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb (450g) button or baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
1 container (7 oz / 198g) Blue Moose pesto, plus more for dipping if desired
8oz (225g) feta cheese, finely chopped
1 lb (450g) frozen filo pastry, thawed
Additional olive oil for brushing
Salt and pepper
- PROCESS -
Preheat the oven to 400˚f / 200˚c.
Place the spinach in a microwave safe bowl, and cover with a lid or plate. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Squeeze out excess moisture, and turn out onto a chopping board. Chop finely. leave to cool while you prepare the rest of the filling.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet. Add the onion and garlic and a big pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, until mushrooms are collapsing, and the moisture they release has evaporated. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Add the chopped spinach, and mix well to incorporate. Stir through the pesto, followed by the feta. Leave to cool for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
On a dry work surface, lay out one sheet of filo dough. Brush the surface lightly with olive oil or butter, and lay over a second piece. Repeat until you have three layers, keeping the unused dough underneath a damp towel to ensure that it does not dry out. Cut the dough into long rectangles approximately 3 inches wide and 12 inches long (if your dough is different dimensions you can adjust the size of your rectangles to suit).
Place approx 2 Tbsp of the filling in the bottom left corner of the rectangle, and spread into a triangle shape. Carefully fold the dough diagonally to form a triangle. (see GIF for guidance). Continue folding over on itself up the length of the rectangle, tucking the last corner in. Place on a baking tray. Repeat until the filling has been used up.
Brush the triangles lightly with oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and flaky. Allow to cool slightly. Serve with additional Blue Moose pesto.
This post was sponsored by Blue Moose of Boulder, an awesome company in Colorado who makes amazing pestos, hummus and salsas. The products are made in small batches, with cold-pressure technology, which guarantees that you will have fresh, preservative free, awesome pesto that tastes like you made it at home, every time. All opinions are my own.