Strudel works as hors d'oeuvre


February 02, 2000|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Sun Staff

Nola J. Custis of Scotland, S.D., requested a recipe for Spinach Strudel using phyllo dough. Tester Laura Reiley chose a response that was submitted without a name.

Spinach Strudel

Serves 6 as an appetizer

8 ounces fresh spinach

1 tablespoon margarine plus 3 additional tablespoons margarine, melted

6 green onions, with tops, chopped

8 sheets phyllo dough

1 1/2 ounces feta cheese

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse, stem and hand-tear spinach and put in a bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon margarine over medium high heat, add green onions and saute until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Pour cooked onions over spinach and mix while still hot enough to wilt spinach. Lightly brush every other sheet of phyllo with melted margarine and stack the sheets on top of each other. (You should have a tiny amount of margarine left over, which will be used later.) Spread spinach-onion mixture over the phyllo, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Crumble the feta cheese. Sprinkle cheese, caraway and pepper over spinach mixture. Drizzle honey over the top. Roll lengthwise, jellyroll fashion, and place on a nonstick baking sheet, making sure that the ends of the roll are tucked under and seam side faces down. Brush the top lightly with any remaining margarine or margarine left on the brush. Cut through the pastry to the spinach at 1 1/2 -inch intervals, to provide vents for steam to escape. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a light golden brown. Slice, using vent lines as guides.

This recipe freezes well. Prepare as above, but omit the final brushing with margarine, and the baking. Freeze overnight on a baking sheet, then wrap well in freezer paper or foil. To prevent the pastry from getting soggy, do not defrost before baking. Place on a baking sheet, brush with margarine and bake 35-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "This recipe is a real winner. The caraway seeds lend a slightly exotic flavor to the spinach, and the honey contributes a barely detectable sweetness. I used baby spinach, which wilted nicely when mixed with the hot green onions. If the spinach doesn't wilt properly, toss the whole mixture back in the saute pan used to cook the onions over low heat for 1 minute. I avoided spooning too much spinach liquid onto the phyllo sheets, for fear of sogginess. The result was a crisp, flaky pastry cradling a wonderful deep-green filling dotted with crumbles of feta. This is a perfect hors d'oeuvre or first course."

Recipe requests

* Pat Capitano of Baltimore writes that she has lost her recipe for red-pepper sauce and would love to have readers supply her with recipes. "I'd be so happy," she writes.

* Jean F. Rasor Sr. of Corvallis, Ore., is looking for a recipe for pickled green pepper. "[My mother] would cut cabbage like making sauerkraut. She would then cut the top from the green [bell] pepper and remove the seeds. Next, she would pack the pepper full of the cut cabbage. She would then put the pepper top back on, ... then pickle it like sauerkraut."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited for clarity.

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