When I was growing up, these vegetable rolls were another form of the traditional bourekas – a savoury pastry. They are filling on their own, but also really good with something light, like a green salad, if it’s closer to lunchtime. The rolls can be made in advance, sliced and frozen, ready to be baked at a later date when you don’t feel like cooking.
4 tbsp olive oil, plus 3 tbsp extra, for glazing
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp chilli flakes
4 store-bought all-butter puff pastry sheets
plain flour, for rolling
100g pine nuts, toasted
200g feta cheese, crumbled
1 egg, lightly beaten
Coarsely chop the leaves and stems of the spinach. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Blanch the spinach for 30 seconds, then drain and refresh in icy cold water. Squeeze out any excess liquid, then set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes, until transparent but not coloured. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Mix the spinach into the onion and garlic and season with the chilli flakes, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place a sheet of pastry on a lightly floured surface then divide into four 30cm squares. Spread the spinach mixture over the pastry, leaving a 2cm strip free along one edge. Sprinkle the pine nuts and feta over the spinach. Brush the empty pastry strip with the beaten egg and then, starting at the opposite side, firmly roll up the pastry into a roulade. Don’t roll it so tightly that the mixture squeezes out. Repeat with the other pastry sheets.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Using a serrated knife, cut the roulade into 10 equal pieces. Place on the baking tray (do not overcrowd the tray as the rolls will double in size). Bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove the tray from the oven and use a pastry brush to glaze the rolls with the extra olive oil. Set the rolls aside to cool slightly before serving warm.
Note It is important to use a serrated knife to cut the roulade in order to give a clean cut that will allow the pastry to puff up.
Extracted from Hummus & Co by Michael Rantissi and Kristy Frawley (Murdoch Books, approx €23). Photography by Alan Benson.