It’s party season. Can you feel it? Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and then the December holidays will be here, so chances are good that you will either be entertaining or being entertained in the next few months. Here’s a party-friendly appetizer that you can use all season long.
Traditionally, spinach likes to be paired with feta, but here, it’s paired with firm, buttery Manchego cheese, as well as minced garlic, fresh herbs, lemon zest and a hint of nutmeg. The puffy little pies are quite green, slightly nutty and plenty buttery — a welcome addition to the appetizer rotation, and also very nice served alongside a bowl of soup.
Manchego Spinach Pies
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen spinach, thawed and chopped
6 ounces Manchego cheese, grated (about 2 cups), plus more for sprinkling
3 large eggs
1/2 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Pinch of ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce package), thawed
Place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Transfer to a medium bowl and add the Manchego, eggs, onion, garlic, dill, thyme, lemon zest, nutmeg, olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
On a well-floured work surface, roll the puff pastry into a 14-inch square. Cut the puff pastry into 4 equal strips, then cut each strip into 3 even rectangles. You will end up with 12 rectangles of dough.
Place a rectangle of puff pastry in each cup of a 12-cup muffin tin, arranging the tips so they point up and out. Divide the spinach mixture evenly among the cups, filling each three-fourths full (you may end up with a small bit of leftover filling). Sprinkle some Manchego on top of each cup and fold the pointy edges of the dough over the filling as best you can.
Chill the unbaked pies in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or in the freezer for 10 minutes. Heat the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack in the center position.
Transfer the muffin tin to the oven and bake until the puff pastry is browned all over, 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve the pies warm or at room temperature. Leftovers will keep, well wrapped in the refrigerator, for three or four days. Place on a sheet pan and re-crisp in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8 to 12.
— From “One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals from the Oven to Your Table” by Molly Gilbert (Clarkson Potter, $17.99)