I am fortunate to live near an organic green leaf operation which is deeply committed to sustainable growth practices. They provide me with a year-round source of baby spinach. Spinach has become a regular staple within my menus at any time of year (even in Maine!) …. raw or cooked. My source for baby spinach, during mid to late Spring, is during my weekly CSA pick-up at Little Ridge Farm.
These ‘lil spinach triangles vary each time I make them …. sometimes filled with crumbled feta cheese or toasted pine nuts. During springtime, I prefer a combination of freshly picked spinach, mint and lemon zest.
Prior to filling the phyllo strips, it is essential to ensure very little moisture in the spinach filling. This will guarantee a crispy, light and buttery phyllo shell. Once the spinach mixture is cooked, remove mixture from pan into a clean, cotton kitchen towel and squeeze out excess liquid. Transfer to acrylic cutting board, chop finely and allow to cool to room temperature. In the event additional liquid has seeped from the chopped mixture after cooling, merely blot with paper kitchen towel.
Don’t hesitate to make more triangles than you need. These freeze very well (uncooked) and thaw quickly. Merely freeze on sheet pan, then transfer to resealable freezer bags for storage.
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 Shallot, small, finely minced
- 2 pounds Spinach, washed, drained and spun dry
- 12 Mint leaves, fresh, finely chopped
- 1 Lemon, juiced and zested
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1 pinch Black pepper, freshly ground
- 1/2 cup Butter, unsalted, melted (1-stick)
- 1 Sleeve of phyllo pastry sheets, thawed
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place baking rake just above middle of oven.
- Melt butter in medium sauce pan. Reduce heat to simmer and maintain until use with phyllo sheets.
Prepare Spinach Filling:
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan. Add minced shallots to heated oil and sauté until transparent, 1-2 minutes. Add spinach and chopped mint, continue tossing with tongs until spinach is wilted, 2-3 minutes. Finish with lemon juice, zest, salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Remove spinach mixture from pan into a clean, cotton kitchen towel and squeeze out excess liquid. Transfer to acrylic cutting board and chop finely. This process can be completed in advance and refrigerated for 1-2 days.
- Unroll phyllo sheets on a flat surface and cover with slightly damp towel to ensure the phyllo doesn't become dry and brittle.
- Place 2 single sheets of phyllo, side by side (not end to end), on a x-large wooden cutting board. Brush sheets with melted butter, beginning with edges and work your way towards the center. Continue this process until you’ve created three layers of phyllo dough (a total of 6 sheets).
- With large cutting knife, cut sheets from left to right into 4 equal strips. From top to bottom, make a single cut directly in middle of sheets. You will have a total of 8 strips.
- Place a small spoonful of spinach mixture 1 inch from the end of a phyllo strip. Fold the end of phyllo strip over the filling to form a triangle, then continue folding until end of strip while maintaining a triangle form. Continue filling all 8 phyllo strips and repeat steps 2 & 3 within the 'Prepare Phyllo' category (above).
- Place freshly filled triangles (16 total) on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush each triangle with melted butter.
- Bake for 15-20 mins, or until golden brown. Serve warm.
- Filled, unbaked triangles can be frozen for up to 1 month. Freeze individually on sheet pan. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer container for storage.