I don’t want to bring politics into this blog, but this has been a week to end all weeks for this nation. Launching into a little discussion about wilting spinach and making yourself a tart seems meaningless and trite. I wish I had the courage to write about the many, many thoughts that have crossed my mind this week but again, I don’t want to use this platform for venting views about politics especially. Yes, I will ruminate from time to time about life issues, but generally speaking, you are going to hear from me about recipes, restaurant reviews and other food adventures as my bio suggests.
Having said that, and with respect for everyone who reads the blog, whether you are singing a happy tune, fearing for the health of our nation or just saying to yourself, ok let’s move on now, here’s what I am offering. I want to share one snippet of Secretary Clinton’s concession speech that resonated the most with me. I hope that Americans across this great nation can embrace this statement as we move forward with our new normal.
“I count my blessings every single day that I am an American and I still believe as deeply as I ever have, that if we stand together, work together, with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions, and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us.” – Hillary Clinton
Now, let’s talk about wilting spinach.
I recently read a post on Food 52 about a Spanokopita Grilled Cheese that sounded amazing. I haven’t tried the recipe just yet, but it looks delicious. And then, an idea popped into my head about turning the Spanokopita concept into an easy-to-make, weeknight-kind of tart using store bought puff pastry. My Asparagus, Ham and Gruyere Tart was pretty popular with readers, even those who omitted the ham to make it vegetarian, so I figured this recipe might resonate with you too! I am not sure it fits into the category of comfort food some may be seeking this week, but it is a no-stress and quick dish that you can serve as an appetizer, for lunch with a salad or as a light dinner. I served it alongside some shrimp that I sauteed in the pan juices with some garlic, lemon juice and pickled jalapenos (my latest obsession since I made some from scratch this fall).
The recipe goes like this. Start with some store bought puff pastry that you roll into a rectangle and score, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Saute some shallots and scallions in olive oil and add some spinach, cooking until wilted. Drain off any excess liquid – a key step in the recipe to avoid a soggy tart – and add breadcrumbs and some fresh dill. Layer the dough with slices of Muenster cheese, the spinach, fresh feta and some toasted pine nuts. Brush the edges with egg wash and pop in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until the edges of the pastry are puffed up and the tart is golden brown. Allow to cool just a bit (it’s better at room temperature actually), cut into serving pieces and enjoy.
Spanokopita never was so easy!
Please give it a try, and do let me know what you think in the comments!
PS – check out the two recipes in the links below. Both are really delicious and would be great additions to your Thanksgiving table!
An easy tart that gives you all the flavors of a traditional Spanokopita with just a fraction of the work! Great for an appetizer if you cut the pastry into smaller squares, or for lunch or dinner with a salad or as a side dish.
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed but still cold
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large or 2 small shallots, sliced into half moons (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced, green and white parts
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach or 4 large handfuls
- 2 teaspoons unseasoned bread crumbs
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus extra for garnish
- 6 slices Muenster cheese, about 4 ounces
- 3 1/2 ounces good quality feta cheese
- 2 Tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- Unfold the defrosted puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle that is 12 by 10 inches. With a sharp knife, lightly score dough 1/2 inch from the edges to form a rectangle. Place dough on parchment lined baking sheet. Return dough to refrigerator until ready to assemble the tart.
- In a large saute pan, warm the olive oil over medium low heat. Add the shallots, scallions and a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring constantly for a few minutes or until the shallots and scallions are softened. You do not want them to brown.
- Add the spinach and another sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper. Stir with the onions and then cover the pan. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring once, until the spinach has wilted.
- The next step is very important to avoid a soggy tart. Move the spinach mixture to one side of the pan and then tip the pan to allow any excess juices to drain away from the spinach. You can perch the pan on another one for ease. Drain the liquid from the pan and then mix the spinach with the bread crumbs and the dill.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Layer the slices of Muenster cheese onto the dough, making sure to stay within the scored rectangle.
- Add the spinach mixture, making sure to spread it out evenly.
- Pat the feta dry and then break it up and add it along with the pine nuts, distributing everything evenly.
- Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg wash and place the tart in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the edges are puffed up and golden.
- Allow the tart to cool just a bit before cutting into serving pieces. Garnish with additional dill sprigs if desired.
Tips from The Kitchen Scout
Update - a friend wrote to me that she sauteed about 9 ounces of spinach from a bag she had and added some more shallots, dill and breadcrumbs to compensate. Spinach doesn't take up much room so feel free to add more to your tart as she did, but do also add extra breadcrumbs and dill at a minimum to make sure the flavor profile stays the same. Enjoy!
One Year Ago: Marcella’s Butter Almond Cake
Two Years Ago: Cauliflower Bacon Gratin
See you next week!
This was a winner! I made this last night; it is simply delicious. I happened to have some leftover lamb chops which I served with the spanakopita and the combined flavor profile really worked. We will definitely make this again and again.
Thank you so much, Susan! I am glad you enjoyed the tart! Perfect with lamb chops!
Definitely making this one for football Sunday! Add a salad, chill the wine!
Thanks Val-looks yummy. A nice snack for football Sunday! Thanks for reminding us of Hillary’s wise words to provide some hope.