real talk: cleaning out the fridge before a big move. i've admitted to my slight hoarder tendencies before. This summer, i've been forced to confront the true extent of my problem.
it's been a delicious problem to have.
enter these adorable little guys. eggplants in search of a home. in my belly.
luckily, i found sheeets of phyllo lurking between last summer's pitted sour cherries, homemade chicken stock, and many small baggies of citrus zest, left over from my dalliance with middle eastern cuisine last year.
the tahini had already met its end with a can of garbanzos as very tasty hummus.
this appetizer is extremely versatile. i used a martha recipe as a jumping off point, but ending up with a different flavor profile thanks to the jar of sun dried tomatoes that's been hiding in the cheese drawer of the fridge and the basil growing against all odds in vases on my counter.
the eggplant is a soft and silky complement to the crispy layers of phyllo, and the sherry vinegar gives it tang, the red pepper a bit of bite, and feta and tomatoes a salty undertone.
but this would work easily well with spinach and feta, for a variation on spanikopita, or ground lamb with golden raisins and lots of smoky cumin for a heartier snack.
any way you fill them, you won't regret having an extra roll or two of phyllo in your freezer. just don't try to move it cross country.
- About 2 to 2 1/2 lbs eggplant
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (3 ounces)
- 4 to 5 sun dried tomatoes, drained of oil and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 4 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise, brush cut side with olive oil. Place cut side down on lined baking sheet and roast about 20 to 25 minutes until tender. Let cool just enough to handle, and scoop eggplant flesh from skins. Roughly chop and place in large bowl.
Add feta, tomatoes, spices, basil and vinegar to eggplant. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Lightly oil 12 regular sized muffin cups, or spray with Pam.
Keep your stack of phyllo dough sheets covered with a damp paper towel while you're working. On a very very lightly floured work surface, lay out one sheet of phyllo. Lightly brush with olive oil. Stack another sheet of phyllo on top and brush with oil, and repeat until you have 5 sheet of oiled phyllo stacked up. Cut into 6 squares.
Take each square and press into muffin cup, as if you were creating a small muffin sized pie. Fill with about a 1/4 cup eggplant mixture. Gather up ends of phyllo to create a little pouch and press to hold close. Brush with more oil.
Repeat with each square of phyllo, and with remaining phyllo sheets.
Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.