Posts Tagged 'phyllo'

Phyllo-Wrapped Asparagus with Cheese

This recipe originally called for the asparagus to be wrapped in prosciutto before being wrapped in phyllo. But I was taking it to a Chanukah party, and prosciutto just won’t work for Jews. So I used a bit of Gruyere cheese in each one instead (I know, not anything like prosciutto, but it worked.)

The asparagus gets cooked, but stays crispy. I recommend not using very thick asparagus, since it might not cook enough. Also, once I snapped off the tough bottoms of the asparagus, some of them were kind of short, and didn’t stick out of the phyllo rolls very far. I suppose you could cut the sheets in quarters instead of thirds to remedy this, but I think they were quite nice as is.

This looks like much more work than it is, and has the well-known Wow factor for potlucks. It would be a great appetizer for New Years Eve or any other festive occasion. 60 of these disappeared in less than ½ hour to rave reviews.

Phyllo-Wrapped Asparagus with Cheese

3 ounces grated gruyere cheese
30 asparagus spears, trimmed (be sure to snap off tough ends)
10 (14 x 9-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place 1 phyllo sheet on a work surface (cover remaining phyllo to prevent drying); [See Note]. Coat phyllo with cooking spray. Cut crosswise into thirds to form 3 (4 1/2 x 9–inch) rectangles.

Put a large pinch of cheese near the bottom of each phyllo strip. Put it primarily in the middle, so that it won’t ooze out when it is rolled. Note that I put it a little way up and not at the very bottom because I wanted to avoid cheese leakage.

Arrange 1 asparagus spear across short end of each rectangle on top of the cheese.

Roll up phyllo dough jelly-roll fashion. Arrange rolls on baking sheet; coat rolls with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo, cheese, asparagus, and cooking spray.

Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until phyllo is golden and crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 30 rolls, at about 1 gram of fat/roll.

NOTE: My secret technique for working with phyllo: Recipes always tell you to cover the remaining dough with a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out. I haven’t had much luck with this. My remaining dough gets soggy and tears. So I unroll the phyllo sheets completely and, when I take the first sheet off, I spray the next one down with cooking spray. Then I spray the first sheet I am working with. Repeat each time you remove a sheet of dough – it will stay moist enough, and you won’t have to spray it again when you are working with it.


Mushroom and Caramelized Shallot Strudel

This delicious, flaky pastry was originally described in Cooking Light as a main dish, perhaps a vegetarian main dish for Thanksgiving.  I have been making it for years, taking it to friends’ houses as a Thanksgiving appetizer. It was always popular, and every year my friends would ask “you’re going to bring the mushroom thing, aren’t you?” Now the friends go south every year before Thanksgiving, and I fly across country to my daughter’s home for the annual feast. But the grocery had packaged mushrooms on sale for an unbelievable price, and I thought this would be a good main dish for a wintry day.  Whether you slice it thin for an appetizer or thick for a main dish, this is one of the best vegetarian low-fat dishes I have ever made. It requires just a little fussing, but it never fails.  It also has a pretty decent “wow” factor to bring to a potluck or a friend’s dinner table.

Mushroom and Caramelized Shallot Strudel

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2  cups thinly sliced shallots (about 8 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon water
4 (8-ounce) packages presliced mushrooms (or you could thinly slice  2 pounds of mushrooms)
2  Tablespoons Marsala or Madeira wine
2/3 cup non-fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8  sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Cooking spray
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs, divided
1 Tablespoon butter, melted
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sugar; cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

cut shallot

Thinly sliced shallots.

Sprinkle with water; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until shallots are soft.

sauteed shallot

Caramelized shallots

Add mushrooms; cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat 20 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring frequently. Add Marsala; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat, and cool. Stir in sour cream, parsley, salt, thyme, and pepper.

Place 1 phyllo sheet on a large cutting board or work surface (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), and lightly coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons breadcrumbs. Repeat the layers with 3 phyllo sheets, cooking spray, and breadcrumbs, ending with the phyllo. Spoon 1 3/4 cups mushroom mixture along 1 long edge of phyllo, leaving a 1-inch border.
filling on phyllo

Starting at the long edge with the 1-inch border, roll up jelly roll fashion. Place strudel, seam side down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Tuck ends under. Repeat the procedure with the remaining phyllo sheets, cooking spray, breadcrumbs, and mushroom mixture. Brush strudels with butter. Bake strudels at 400° for 20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes.
phyllo log

Cut each strudel into 4 slices. This makes 8 main dish servings at 5 grams of fat/serving.  When I used this as an appetizer I cut each strudel into 6-8 pieces, so the appetizer was a little over 2 grams of fat/serving – which was light enough to precede a Thanksgiving meal.

phyllo slice

One main dish serving

I actually halved the recipe and made one strudel. I find that food made with phyllo doesn’t keep several days without getting soggy – and it doesn’t always reheat well.

Hint: I often have a problem finding the time to fuss over food preparation when I get home. This is one of those dishes where you can make the filling ahead and then fill and bake the strudel when you want to eat it.


I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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