Greens may not be surviving the August heat, but the zucchini, zucchini, zucchini! — well, that is mounding up in prolific piles. We’ve done zucchini noodles, zucchini bread, zucchini in stir-fry and zucchini-as-soup. Inspired by a round of fava-mint empanadas earlier this year, we’ve decided to try zucchini as a filling. Empanada dough might be a bit on the heavy side, but phyllo might make for a better foil. Plus, I’m craving something spanikopita-esque. Here goes!
For the filling:
- 12 ounces zucchini, trimmed, coarsely grated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 small onions, chopped
- large handful fresh fennel tops, chopped
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 6 tablespoons almonds, roughly bashed or chopped
- large handful grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup spicy pangrattato *leftover from something like this or, for a more spicy version, try this (or, can easily omit.)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 12-15 sheets phyllo pastry, thawed. Don’t open till you’re ready to assemble.
- light egg wash (1 small egg, beaten)
- Sesame seeds, optional
The Plan: Saute the Zucchini with olive oil and onion. Toss with herbs (fennel tops, since we have it around) and lemon. Add a little ground almond for body, parmesan for a touch of flavor. You can play around with this last part especially. Almond and parmesan work in pretty similar ways in a lot of the vegan cooking we’ve tried. Here, we are going to use both because, hey, decadence. Subbing for just almonds or just parmesan would work well too.
Once you have your filling seasoned and flavored the way you like it, you’ll start assembling the triangles. To assemble the triangles: We found a double layer of phyllo to be the best dough-filling ratio. It helps to have 2 people for this part, but you can pull it off solo.
If you’re used to phyllo, just skip this aside … : Phyllo will dry out quickly, so don’t leave it exposed to the air. We open it out flat, lay a sheet of plastic over it and then a barely-damp tea towel. Don’t let the damp tea towel touch the phyllo. You can sometimes use the plastic the phyllo came it, if it’s large enough. We used our Silpat as the plastic layer.
- Preheat oven to 350 and have ready: the zucchini mixture, a small bowl of the pangrattato, olive oil (or melted butter), the thawed phyllo, and egg wash. Have a pastry brush ready to distribute the olive oil.
- Put your first sheet of phyllo out on your worksurface. Working quickly, brush with olive oil and sprinkle a small amount of pangrattato.
- Fold phyllo sheet over itself lengthwise, so you have a double layer of phyllo.
- Place 2-3 tbsp of zucchini mixture in the top left corner of the phyllo.
- Fold the bottom left corner up over the filling to form a triangle. Fold the triangle over itself again. If needed, you can pause here to add zucchini to fill out the packet. Or, just continue folding to close off the open side of the triangle.
- Place triangle on a baking sheet and repeat 1-5 till you’ve used up the filling.
- Brush all the triangles with egg and sesame seeds (optional.) Bake at 350 till golden. About 20 minutes.
You can freeze these after baking for later. To re-heat, bake from frozen in a 350 degree oven.
Serve this with a light salad — cucumber dressed with rice wine vinegar and dill was perfect.