Sweet Potato - Feta Phyllo Triangles
Inspired by the place sweet potatoes have both in the Ikarian and greater Greek kitchen, this savory-sweet appetizer is a great Fall and Winter dish. On Ikaria, sweet potatoes were the "dessert" in times of poverty, roasted and eaten as is, and remembered fondly! Sweet potatoes are cultivated on Naxos, too, an island famous for its potatoes, and are also part of the culinary traditions of the Ionian islands, especially Corfu, where they were introduced by the Venetians. To find some of the artisinal Greek products you'll need to make this, visit my online shop here, where you'll discover a host of lovingly curated Greek ingredients.
- 3 large sweet potatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion chopped
- 2/3 cup Greek feta
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 pack frozen or chilled phyllo dough thawed overnight in the refrigerator if frozen, and at room temperature
- 1 egg white lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
- ½ cup nigella seeds
- 2/3 cup Greek pine or other honey
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 dried chile peppers Greek boukovo, or Aleppo pepper
- ½ teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of cumin
- Fresh parsley for garnish optional
Preheat the oven to 400F/220C. Wash and dry the sweet potatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Season with salt and pepper. Brush with a little olive oil. Place cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking tray and roast until soft, about 25 minutes.
While the sweet potatoes are roasting, cook the onions: Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy frying pan over medium heat and add the onions. Cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized.
When the sweet potatoes are soft, remove, cool slightly and scoop out the flesh, transferring it immediately to a mixing bowl. Let the sweet potato pulp cool down. Mix in the onions, feta, and nutmeg. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper.
Roll open the phyllo and keep it covered with a dry and then a damp kitchen towel on top. Take out the first sheet and place it horizontally in front of you on a work surface. Brush it with olive oil. Take out a second sheet, stack it over the first, and brush that, too, with olive oil.
Cut the sheets into four equally wide strips. Fill the bottom part of each strip with a scant tablespoon of the sweet potato filling and fold up like a flag, into right angles corner to corner, to get triangles. Place seam side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue until all the phyllo and filling are used up.
Brush the top of each triangle with the egg white wash and sprinkle with nigella seeds. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the phyllo is golden and crisp.
Note: the triangles may be assembled, covered well in plastic wrap and frozen for up to a week before serving. Remove the plastic wrap and bake directly from the freezer to the oven, allowing a little more baking time.
While the triangles are baking, or up to three days before serving make the honey sauce: Bring the honey, water and spices to a simmer. Cool down and let the spices steep in the mixture for at least 15 minutes. Strain and keep in an airtight jar or plastic squeeze bottle.
To serve: Place 1 or 1 triangles on a plate and drizzle with the spiced honey sauce. Garnish if desired with a little fresh parsley.
Makes 18 - 24 pieces