I’d been thinking about spinach. I had this huge sack of baby spinach that I’d just bought at the market and I wanted to do something special with, but I didn’t know what, exactly. I really wanted spanikopita, the labor-intensive, brush-the-filo-layers-with-butter dish, but I haven’t found filo around here that I like (it’s all too thick), and making homemade filo pastry isn’t something that this cowgirl wants to take on – ever.
So there, in my refrigerator drawer, sat my spinach, kinda sad and forlorn-like. And my feta, too.
I was making a big ol’ asparagus-ricotta tart with Clotilde Desoulier’s olive oil tart crust (the easiest and fastest crust ever — you must try this), and had some leftover crust dough bits that I didn’t want to waste. So I pulled out these two very cute cake tins (that’s what I’d originally bought them for – tiny layer cakes), and pressed the dough into them.
I cooked up my spinach, just as I normally do for spanikopita, and mixed in some feta, and divided the mixture (Oh my, Mr. Spinach, what shrinkage!) between the two tiny crust-lined tins.
I sprinkled some Parmesan on top and put these babies in the oven, and went to walk Rose. When I came back a half-hour later, they were finished — and perfect. I think that these little cuties would be great for a brunch or a light dinner with a soup.
Before I sign off, let me wax on about this crust for a moment. I’d seen this recipe on Clotilde’s blogsite, Chocolate & Zucchini, awhile back (where you will find loads of recipes on French-centric recipes with a modern, healthy twist), and was intrigued by the wheat flour and olive oil combo. I’ve been wanting to experiment with crusts since I’m using more tart than pie pans over here and I wanted a crust that would work nicely with savory dishes. I really like the nutty flavor of whole wheat, anyway, and I really really like the idea of whipping up a crust by hand, and not in the food processor (less stuff to wash). This takes, I promise, 5 minutes to put together and roll out, and I can’t say enough about how yummy it is, too. Clotilde puts dried herbs in her crust dough, and I thought about it, but then figured I’d just see how this worked out first, and then do some mix-ins on the next round.* Five stars.
PS I made this a second time, with frozen spinach, because I thought that lots of y’all might prefer this, and it’s even easier (mucho speedy), and cheaper, too. Here, one 450-gram box is just 1 euro, which I just love.
Spinach and Feta Tartelettes
Makes six tartelettes or one large tart (11 inches)
32 oz. (900 grams) spinach
1 small yellow onion, 1/4-inch dice
7 oz (200 grams) feta, crumbled
½ teaspoon lime zest
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
olive oil crust, recipe follows
WHAT YOU DO
Preheat oven to 350.
1. Drizzle a bit of olive oil in a skillet and add onion and garlic. Cook on medium-low for about 5 minutes, or until onions start to become translucent.
2. Add spinach to onions and garlic and cook until it starts to wilt. Add nutmeg, a bit of salt and pepper and the lime zest. Remove from heat and squeeze out as much excess moisture as you can.* Put spinach-onion mixture in a bowl.
3. Add crumbled feta to spinach and mix well. Spoon into 2 tartelette pans and shred a bit of Parmesan on top. Bake for 30 minutes.
Serve with a few toasted pine nuts on top, and with a little salad for a light dinner.
*Cowgirl Tip: A potato ricer is great for squeezing out water from spinach.
Olive Oil Tart Crust
Makes one large tart crust (11 inches) or 6 small ones
215 grams/2 cups whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, or a mix of the two (I use all whole wheat)
50 grams/1/4 cup oatmeal
I tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
120 ml (1/2 cup) ice water
WHAT YOU DO
Grease the tart pan with a tiny bit of olive oil if it doesn’t have a non-stick coating. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and sea salt with a big spoon. Add the oil and mix a bit, and then add the water and mix just until the dough comes together in a ball. (You can do all of this by hand.)
Now, on a floured surface, roll out the dough into a circle large enough to fit tart pan. Trim the edges and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Fill the tart and bake or blind-bake (depends on what you’ll be using it for) at 400F for about 20-25 minutes.
*This is an updated crust recipe. I’ve upped the amount of flour, added oatmeal and honey to give it a different twist.