Years ago, I somewhat dubiously baked up a recipe I’d found for strudel filled with pears — and blue cheese. My doubts were put to rest when it turned out to be delicious. Strudel’s not just for dessert — and this week’s recipe also proves that spinach can be delicious. Coming to us from the Orchard Inn near the historic village of Saluda, North Carolina, this dish combines fresh (or frozen) spinach with tangy vegetables, cheddar and cream cheeses, and eggs. They’re all baked together in a crispy crust of ready-made puff pastry for a rich, filling meatless main dish or appetizer.
1 pound of spinach (frozen or fresh) chopped and sautéed
1 medium onion, chopped and sautéed
1 small tomato, diced
1 small sweet pepper, diced
1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
12 oz cream cheese
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup bread crumbs
½ teaspoon of thyme
½ teaspoon of marjoram
Pinch of cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
2 sheets of puff pastry (packaged, from supermarket)
Flour for working surface
8 ounces of fresh spinach
1 egg and 1 teaspoon of water mixed for glazing the strudel
Oil for baking sheet
Flour working surface slightly, roll out puff pastry to a square. Cut off 2 strips of each sheet, about 1 inch wide (for decorating strudel)
Slightly oil baking sheet and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Layer puff pastry with fresh spinach leaves and then distribute the
spinach/cream cheese mixture on top.
Fold in sides and roll puff pastry, making sure no holes or splits occur,
into an approximately four-inch thick strudel. Transfer strudel to oiled baking
sheet. Brush the strudel with the egg/water mixture. Use the strips to
decorate the strudel, with crisscross or little squares. Brush again with
the egg mixture.
Put in oven and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees or until pastry is light
Let cool for 15 minutes.
Cut in two-inch portions and serve with greens.