I had never gotten down with Phyllo before... We decided on steak for dinner (which is certainly a treat, but somewhat boring nonetheless), so Lissa suggested something different and exciting as a side. I was thinking of the many things I have yet to cook, and somehow phyllo popped into my head. I decided on baked phyllo triangles with Garrotxa goat cheese and olive tapenade.
Phyllo is Greek (φύλλο, fýllo) for leaf or sheet. It is paper-thin sheets of raw, unleavened flour dough used for making sweet or savory pastries. Phyllo's thicker Great-Great-Grandfather appears to be of Turkic origin. As early as the 11th century, there are records of pleated/folded bread, yuvgha (which is related to the word yufka, the Turkish word for phyllo). The practice of stretching raw dough into paper-thin sheets is a later development, probably evolving in the kitchens of the Topkapi Palace. (wikipedia)
Alright, on with the show. Phyllo dries out very quickly (like, in a matter of minutes) so it's important to keep it covered...piece of saran or wax paper, topped with a damp cloth does nicely. Take one sheet, brush with melted butter or oil, then top with a second sheet, again brushing with butter or oil. Two layers is plenty to start with since these little triangles are going to be further layered once they're folded. Next, slice the phyllo lengthwise into 5 even strips. Now you're ready to fill and fold. I used a wedge of Garrotxa cheese and a spoonful of black olive tapenade. Start at the top and fold the top corner over to form a triangle, continuing to fold down, then over, like a flag (see photo). Repeat with the other strips, then repeat again with more sheets of phyllo until you have as many as you desire.
Place phyllo triangles on a baking sheet, and bake in a preheated oven (350°) for 20-30 minutes or until nicely browned.
So delicious, light and crispy layers of dough crackle and melt in your mouth as you bite through to reach the center. The creamy, nutty Garrotxa and tapenade on the inside were lovely together. The phyllo was certainly an outstanding element on the plate, which turned out to be anything but boring, especially for a Tuesday night. Grilled Porterhouse Steak with chanterelles, grilled vegetable medley of zucchini, white asparagus and radicchio, and magical little layered leaf pastries with an olive and cheese filling.