Spinach, Goat Cheese and Herb Tart

Spinach, Goat Cheese & Herb Tart

The recipe for this tart is a bit further in the post. First, I’d like to share a little story of exactly how this tart came to be.

Last November I took a cooking class at our local Sur la Table that featured appetizers for holiday parties. I learned the details of palmiers and have been making them ever since. They are so simple to make and are an elegant appetizer for any party or dinner.

Here’s a peek at my very first batch. I made these Portobello & Parmesan Palmiers for our appetizer table before Thanksgiving dinner last year.

Parmesan & Portobello Palmiers

Anyway, I had a little get together for the 4th of July and wanted to make these again. I already had the Parmesan and portobellos, so when I was doing my shopping for the menu I quickly grabbed a few boxes of puff pastry and moved on to the next item on my list.

On the day of the party, the palmiers were the last item left to make because I like to serve them fresh out of the oven. Only when I opened the first box of (what I thought was) puff pastry did I realize that I had grabbed phyllo sheets instead of puff pastry.

I had a sinking feeling these two are not interchangeable in a recipe for palmiers and a quick Internet search confirmed this. Needless to say, I did not serve Parmesan & Portobello Palmiers that day.

The four boxes of phyllo dough left in my freezer inspired today’s recipe (and will probably inspire a few more to come).

Spinach, Goat Cheese and Herb Tart
Adapted from the NY Times recipe Goat Cheese, Chard and Herb Pie in a Phyllo Crust

Ingredients
1 large bunch spinach
8 oz. goat cheese
¾ cup milk
3 eggs
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10 sheets phyllo
½ cup chopped fresh herbs – I used chives, dill, and a little oregano
Olive oil or melted butter
Salt and pepper

Prepare
Preheat the oven to 350°.

Thoroughly wash and drain the spinach. I like to wash mine two or three times. Seriously, there is nothing worse than gritty spinach.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and then the spinach and blanch for about 1 to 2 minutes. Meanwhile, set up an ice bath with cold water and some ice cubes in a large bowl. Transfer the spinach to the ice bath to stop it from continuing to cook. Once it’s cool, squeeze out the excess water. I like to use a clean tea towel for this. Chop the spinach.

Add the eggs and goat cheese to a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend until the mixture is smooth. Add the milk, chopped garlic cloves, herbs, and drained spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly to combine.

Butter a tart or pie pan. Carefully unfold the phyllo dough and take out 10 sheets. Immediately refold the remaining phyllo and refrigerate or freeze. Keep a few damp paper towels nearby to keep the phyllo sheets from drying out. Using one sheet at a time, carefully line the pan with the phyllo. Brush each layer with melted butter or oil before adding the next sheet.

I placed each sheet at an angle and allowed the edge to stand up above the pan’s rim. If you have a lot of dough hanging off the rim you can scrunch it down, but it won’t look as pretty when it bakes.

Once your crust is done, add the spinach mixture and use a spatula to make the top even. Before placing in the oven, fold small pieces of aluminum foil and carefully cover the phyllo edge to keep it from burning. Be very careful not to tear the edges of the phyllo.

Pop in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the middle is set. Uncover the phyllo in the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking to allow the edges to become golden brown.

Spinach, Goat Cheese, and Herb Tart

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