A little while ago I went to a European food market where I bought quite a few new ingredients I hadn’t tried before, one of which was pink garlic from Lautrec, France. I hadn’t heard about it until I saw it at the market but I decided to buy it first and then look it up (risky move, right?) and it turns out this pink garlic has quite a remarkable taste. Sweet and subtle, its flavor is gentle and mild on your taste buds and spices up all your dishes, from the most simple to the most refined. Unfortunately mine were harvested last year but the garlic will remain firm and fragrant for at least six months and up to a year so they were still really good. Now, I have some good news for you because pink garlic is harvested at the end of June and will be ready to buy fresh around August and they even have a pink garlic festival in Lautrec on the 7th and 8th of August 2015.
I ended up making a few recipes using these pink garlic cloves, but the first one I’d like to share with you are these phyllo triangles. I wanted to use puff pastry first, but then I realized that Greek phyllo is a much lighter ingredient and only contains 6% of the fat per 100 grams compared to puff pastry. By using Greek phyllo pastry you also end up with really crispy snacks, which is really want we want for this recipe! I served mine with some balsamic cream and couscous to have a good main course, but they are really perfect as a party snack, appetizer or starter with some salads and balsamic cream.
PS: Don’t worry if you can’t find pink garlic or another type of mild garlic in any stores or on markets near you cause you can also use normal white cloves for this recipes.
Makes: 20 triangles
- 10 mushrooms
- 4 artichoke hearts
- 10 basil leaves
- 80g feta cheese
- 20 strips of fresh phyllo dough (10 cm wide, 45cm long – around 125g of pastry)
- 2 cloves of pink garlic or normal white garlic
- olive oil to brush
Notes: You only need a few strips of phyllo pastry to make this recipe, but you can very easily freeze the rest of the phyllo that you don’t need. I bought a package of 250g of pastry, which consisted of 10 sheets of phyllo pastry and used about half of it.
Keep the phyllo pastry in the fridge while you prepare the filling. Phyllo has a tendency to dry up really fast, making it impossible to handle once it’s dried up, so make sure this doesn’t happen to you and keep the packed up in the fridge until you need them.
Slice the artichokes into chunks and slice the mushrooms up in slices. You don’t have to cut them up in teeny tiny pieces, cause we’re going to use a food processor later to chop it all up anyway but don’t make them too big either so they can be cooked enough before mixing them.
Heat up some olive oil in a pan. Crush the garlic and add it to the pan, along with the mushrooms and artichokes and fry for a couple of minutes, until the mushrooms and artichokes start the brown. If you are using white garlic, don’t crush or even slice them but add them as a whole and discard them once the other ingredients are done. This will give off a mild garlic flavor to our other ingredients, so it’s more similar to the taste of mild pink garlic.
Take your pan off the heat and let it cool down. Once it has cooled down enough, add it to your food processor along with the feta cheese and basil leaves. Chop chop chop until you end up with a good looking, finely chopped filling.
Now it’s time to get the phyllo from the fridge and preheat the oven to 180°C. To make sure it doesn’t dry up while you are preparing the triangles you can put the phyllo under a wet towel to keep it moist. Slice the phyllo up in strips of 10cm wide and 45cm long, which should be the size of your phyllo, it’s ok if it’s longer than that but try to avoid using smaller phyllo sheets, you really need enough length to make sure the filling can’t burst out of these thin phyllo crusts. Put the strip you’re going to use in front of you, long side up. Brush some olive oil long the sides, especially at the top, this will help close the triangles and again prevent them from bursting.
Spoon about 2 teaspoons of mixture onto the bottom left corner of the phyllo strip, don’t overdo it with the filling cause it might once again lead to bursts. The technique for making these triangles is pretty easy, simply take the left bottom corner of the phyllo and fold it over the mixture onto the right side of the pastry, which already creates a triangle. Next you take the bottom right part of the triangle and fold it upwards. To make it easier I took a photo of these first two steps (see below) from when I made a filling with tomatoes. All you have to do now is fold the triangle over from the bottom right to the left side again, and continue to go from left to right all the way to the top. Don’t press it down too hard while doing this, cause this might cause the pastry to tear.
Click on the image on the left if you want to see a (really crappy) drawing I made to show you how to fold the first few steps if you’re feeling a bit confused. Once you’ve done the first 5 movements, it all starts from the beginning again, and you can keep repeating it until you’ve reached the top. But it probably won’t take more than five folds unless you have some really long strips. Whatever you have left at the end you can simply fold over the triangle. To make sure it sticks to the rest, you can add just a bit more of olive oil before you fold it over.
Brush some olive oil on top and the bottom of your phyllo pastries and pop them in the oven for a couple of minutes, until golden brown and crispy!