March 2, 2006

Phyllo Triangles

I’ve been kicking around a recipe for savory phyllo triangles and I thought salmon would make a unique filling. I think these appetizers were in vogue some time ago and are still found on many catering menus. I can’t remember if I’ve actually made them before or just thought about it so many times that it seems like I have. Anyway, I couldn’t find a recipe for exactly what I wanted, but I think they turned out well despite sort of being my own invention. The standard recipe seems to be for a sort of mini spanakopita, made with spinach and feta. That sounded good, but a little predictable. I had leftover salmon (from my last post, attentive readers!) so I thought I’d build the recipe around that. Working with phyllo dough isn't really that hard, but it does require working quickly because it easily dries out. I urge you to read the recipe in its entirety and have everything ready before you take out the phyllo dough. Bon Chance!

Try the recipe and see what you think. The best part is you can do these ahead of time and freeze them. For a recent cocktail party, I also made simple ham and gruyere ones, which were nice, too. You could also try placing a small square of dark chocolate in the triangles for dessert!

Phyllo Triangles stuffed with Salmon, Dill and Mascarpone

1 salmon fillet, cooked and shredded into large chunks
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
3 Tbsp. minced red onion
3 Tbsp. minced red or yellow bell pepper
3 Tbsp. mascarpone cheese, softened
4 sheets phyllo dough, thawed if using frozen
2 Tbsp. melted butter

Combine the mascarpone, dill, onion and bell pepper in a small bowl. Fold in the salmon pieces gently, taking care not to break up the salmon too much. Unfold the phyllo dough and position it with the shorter end near you. Cut in half lengthwise with kitchen shears, and then cut each half in half (lengthwise) again. You should have 4 long sections, each about 3 in. wide.

Put 4 single layer strips of phyllo in front of you and cover the rest of the strips with a damp kitchen towel. Working quickly, brush each strip lightly with melted butter. Place 1 tsp. of the salmon filling at the bottom of each strip and fold one corner over to form a triangle. Continue folding over and over (like a flag) until the end of the strip. Brush with butter to seal the edge of the triangle.

Bake at 400 degrees F/200 degrees C for 15 minutes until golden brown and puffed. This recipe makes about 16 triangles, so double or triple the recipe if you're having a crowd. You can freeze these before baking and bake straight from the freezer when you want them.

*Note that this recipe is based on the size of phyllo available in France. It may come in different dimensions in the States. You are looking for strips about 2 ½ to 3 inches wide (or small enough to eat in 2-3 bites!).

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