It’s the holiday season and you are probably heading to a few holiday parties and dinners, and if you are like me you are always wondering what to make for the holiday pot luck gatherings. That’s why I’ve been posting so many quick and easy recipes that are party worthy to look at and delicious to eat, just like these easy recipes –stuffed mushroom with cream cheese, caramelized onions on baguette, wild mushrooms and leeks on Brie, bell pepper mini quiches.
Enter another very easy appetizer recipe, this puff pastry spinach pie from celebrity chef Ina Garten. Think the Greek spanakopita spinach pie but with lots more flavor.
I made these puff pastry spinach pie bites for a Hanukkah party at our friends Dave and Rose’s place couple days ago and I got so many requests for the recipe that I promised I would post it right away. With comments like “This is so flavorful,” “These are so good!” “Are they spanakopita because, these taste even better!” “Is it easy to make?” – this appetizer was a sure hit at the party and all gone by the end of the night!
Is it easy to make? Very easy! Just sauté a generous amount of onions and garlic, add in frozen chopped spinach, 2 tbsp of breadcrumbs, 4 eggs, and cheese, and then bake inside a puff pastry. How easy is that?
It’s the onions, garlic and good quality cheeses that make this humble spinach pie over the top delicious. It really helps to use good flavorful Swiss Gruyere cheese and Parmesan as they add a gourmet delicatessen flavor. I buy my cheeses from Costco because they have an amazing selection of European and local artisanal cheeses at a very reasonable price.
A few tips
Here are a few tips that takes this delicious pie and makes it positively gourmet!
- I had a small tin of gray salt which I sprinkled on top of the pie before baking and folks let me tell you that makes a huge difference in the way the pie tastes! You get a crunchy salty texture with every bite that is really nice.
- Another tip, if you don’t have breadcrumbs handy, improvise and use anything else that will bind the mixture together. In my case I had corn meal and used that as my breadcrumb substitute. So go ahead and be creative if you have to.
- If you are like me and are not a huge fan of nutmeg in savory dishes, use paprika instead. Paprika gives the pie a wonderful chili flavor without the heat.
- Another tip is that Ina cuts her pie into large pieces for a lunch course, but for an appetizer cut the pie into smaller bite size pieces.
Spinach in Puff Pastry
from Ina Garten of Barefoot Contessa on Foodnetwork.com
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves)
- 2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
- 1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs, plain or seasoned
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup toasted pignoli (pine) nuts
- 2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge Farm), defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
- 1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Heat the butter in a pan and cook the onions for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
- Meanwhile, squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a bowl. Add the onion mixture, scallions, Gruyere, Parmesan, eggs, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and pignolis. Mix well.
- Unfold one sheet of puff pastry and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the spinach mixture in the middle of the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border. Brush the border with the egg wash. Roll out the second piece of puff pastry on a floured board until it’s an inch larger in each direction. Place the second sheet of pastry over the spinach and seal the edges, crimping them with a fork. Make three small slits in the pastry, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the pastry is lightly browned. Transfer to a cutting board and serve hot.