Thursday, June 10, 2010

Goat Cheese and Basil Borek

I've been feeling guilty lately -- I haven't been keeping up my blog the way I used to, or the way I should. Despite that I have few readers, I like remembering how and when I first made a recipe when I find it. My great-great grandmother, a native of the Lapplands in a small village near Kiruna, Sweden recorded her recipes in a small leather journal. My grandmother recently unearthed it and gave it to my mom for safekeeping. As my Swedish is rather limited we only managed to decipher a few of the recipes, although my mother recognized the names of quite a few from eating them as a child. My great grandmother kept all of her recipes in a small green box, especially in her later years. My grandmother did the same, and now my mother has her own. It's a hybrid of everyone's recipes, from my great grandmother and namesake to a few of mine. In the internet age it may not be as romantically antique but I enjoy being able to have these all at my disposal and be able to share them with just a few clicks.

Back to the food! I finally found a fellow blogger (who has clearly had much more experience) with a wealth of northern European recipes, as well as gorgeous photography -- Dutch Girl. Pop on over to her blog sometime, as it's where I got the inspiration for this dish. It dates back to the Ottoman Empire and has since spread throughout the region. Here's what you need:

36 strips phyllo dough, about 3-4 inches wide and 14 inches wide, thawed
4 oz olive oil
8 oz goat cheese, plain
1 cup fresh basil leaves, whole
3 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 heaping cup parboiled or quick braised asparagus, chopped into very small pieces (think edamame sized)

Chop the pine nuts and basil leaves finely and combine with the lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Add the goat cheese and mix until mostly even, follow with the asparagus. Combine until the asparagus is evenly distributed and there are no pockets of spices.

Preheat the oven to 400. As I've mentioned before, phyllo dough can be tricky. Make sure your hands are dry before you begin to handle it. Take one sheet and using a pastry brush, put a light coat of olive oil over it. Place another sheet on top of it and do the same thing. Do this until you have 3 layers of phyllo. In the center of the far left side of the phyllo place about 2 tablespoons of filling. Fold the bottom corner up, forming the beginnings of a triangle. You want to fold it like a flag -- flip the corner over and repeat until you're to the other end of the dough. I got good results dabbing the top with olive oil; use a sharp knife to cut off any raggedy edges. Do this until you're out of phyllo, I've adjusted the recipe so there's no dough or filling left over.

Brush some olive oil onto a large baking sheet. Place the triangles at least an inch apart from one another and bake for 7 minutes; flip onto the other side then bake again for 8 minutes. Definitely allow these to cool for a few minutes before serving, the filling is HOT!

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