June 25, 2011

Spinach Cigars with Tzatziki

I knew I had to make these spinach cigars when I received the email from Tasting Table. I already had the phyllo languishing in my freezer, purchased weeks ago for the bisteeya that I still haven't gotten around to making. This was the first time I've worked with phyllo, and it wasn't as devilishly hard to handle as I thought it would be. You just have to work fast and not panic, even when the edges of the sheets start tearing. Also make sure the cigars aren't crowded together on the baking sheet. Mine were and the parts that touched each other ended up blistering and sticking to each other. Not pretty! I had to strategically arrange them for this photo.

Spinach Cigars with Tzatziki 
From Maria Hines via Tasting Table

1-1/2 tablespoons finely diced or grated cucumber, water squeezed out
1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dill fronds, finely chopped
1 tablespoon onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
salt and pepper

4 cups spinach
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1 tablespoon shallots, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dill fronds, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground sumac
fresh lemon juice

4 sheets phyllo
4 tablespoons clarified butter

To make the tzatziki, simply mix all ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the filling, boil a large pot of water and blanch the spinach for ten seconds, then quickly rinse in cold water. Drain the spinach and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, using a clean towel. Roughly chop the spinach and mix in the feta, shallots, garlic, dill, sumac and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Warm the clarified butter over low heat.

Cut the phyllo sheets into 6-1/2 inch wide strips. Keep the sheets covered with a damp towel until ready to use; otherwise, they'll very quickly dry out and tear. Working quickly, remove a sheet and brush lightly with butter. Place a second sheet on top and brush again with butter. Place 1-1/2 tablespoons of the filling on one end, keeping 1/2 inch clear on each side. Roll the phyllo one-third of the way, then fold in the sides and roll the rest of the way. Brush the cigar with butter. Repeat with remaining sheets and filling.

Place the cigars on a baking sheet and bake for 6 minutes. Rotate the sheet and bake for 6 minutes more or longer until the cigars are golden brown.

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