Seriously. Anything left over in your fridge from the party last week, anything you bought on an impulse in the Greek grocery store and haven't a clue how to use, anything you want to eat wrapped with phyllo. There is only one caveat- the filling must be dry enough so that the phyllo sheets don't turn soggy.
If you don't have anything you urgently need to get rid of (you lucky sod, you), try this chickpea, eggplant and tomato filling from Epicurious or the spinach, mushroom and red pepper filling from Emeril. I used spinach, carrots, potatoes, sundried tomatoes, ricotta and hummus.
1 tbsp plus 1/4 cup of olive oil/melted butter
1 cup packed frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 carrot, diced
1 potato, diced
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp cumin, toasted and ground
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried parsley
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, smashed and chopped
1/2 cup hummus (or just use chickpeas)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup ricotta (or use crumbled tofu)
salt and pepper to taste
6 sheets of phyllo (from a 1 lb package- available frozen in grocery stores), thawed*
– Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
– In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute until softened.
– Steam the potatoes and carrots until just cooked. You can do that on the stovetop or in the microwave. (Add enough water to cover, nuke for 5-6 minutes. Drain.)
– Add the spices, spinach, and vegetables to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and stir around for a few minutes. ( I did not reconstitute the sundried tomatoes. They soak up enough liquid from the veggies.)
– Towards the end, stir in the hummus, ricotta and lemon juice. Check the fridge one last time for anything you might have missed that can go into the skillet.
Now, lay two sheets of phyllo down on the chopping board. Brush with butter/spray with oil, starting from the edges and working inwards. Lay two more sheets and repeat the process. Then two more. Repeat.
Cut the stacked sheets into three parallel to the shorter side. You will have three stacks of 6 sheets each.
On each stack, lay down one third of the filling along the short edge. Roll it up, tucking in the edges if you like. ( I leave them as is; crispy edges are fun to eat.)
Brush the finished rolls with some oil, and score into 3-4 pieces.
Lay the rolls on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve with any fancy sauces you have lying around. Me, I'm a ketchup girl.
The strudel can be made a few hours ahead of time. Keep at room temperature and heat for ten minutes in a 350 degree oven before serving.
* Phyllo is a pretty neat ingredient. It sits in the freezer, taking up little space, until you are ready to take it out and turn it into the most impressive strudel, tarts or pies. To thaw it out with minimum tear, leave it in the fridge overnight and then out on the kitchen counter upto an hour ahead of cooking time.
When you're ready, take out as many sheets as needed, cover them with plastic wrap and a moist towel over the wrap. Re-wrap rest of the sheets and pop it back into the fridge/freezer.