Crab Meat, Spinach, and Mushrooms in Phyllo
Celebrated New Orleans chef Frank Brigtsen adds the zing of cayenne to his seasoning blend, and it brightens the taste of the crab meat filling in these pretty golden phyllo pouches. He uses Louisiana blue crab for his recipe; other crab meat will work fine, but take his tip and combine claw meat and lump crab meat for added texture.
- Brigtsen Seasoning Blend
- Salt - 1/2 cup
- Freshly ground black pepper - 2 tablespoons
- Cayenne Pepper - 1 teaspoon
- Unsalted Butter - 3/4 cup
- Mixed mushrooms - 2 cups (chanterelles, shiitakes)
- Spinach - 2 cups fresh, stemmed
- Green Onion - 4, minced
- Crab claw meat - 2 cups
- Lump crab meat - 2 cups
- Brigtsen Pepper Blend
- Phyllo Dough - 16 sheets
- Unsalted Butter - 3/4 cup, melted
- Dried Tomatoes - 8
- Shallots - 4, minced
- Pistachio - 1 cup, shelled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chardonnay - 2 cups (alt. dry white wine)
- White Wine Vinegar - 1 tablespoon
- Unsalted Butter - 1 cup, cut into chunks
- Scallions - 2, green part only, split in half lengthwise and blanched
To make the filling: Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and toss the mushrooms in the butter. Cook for 2 minutes, tossing occasionally, until softened. Season with Seasoning Blend and set aside. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the same skillet and toss the spinach until wilted. Season with Seasoning Blend and set aside. Melt the remaining butter in the skillet and toss the crab claw meat and crab meat to coat. Cook only until heated through; toss gently so the crab meat does not break up. Season with Seasoning Blend.
To assemble: Preheat the oven to 450 F. Oil a baking sheet. On a clean flat work area, spread one whole sheet of phyllo and brush with a thin layer of melted butter. Put another sheet of phyllo on top, turning it slightly so it overlaps at an angle. Brush with a thin layer of melted butter. Put a third sheet of phyllo on top, turning it slightly so it overlaps at an angle. Brush with a thin layer of melted butter. Put a final sheet of phyllo on top, turning it slightly so it overlaps at an angle. Brush with a thin layer of melted butter. Pile one fourth of the filling in the center of the phyllo. Gently lift the edges and gather them up over the filling like a pouch. Twist the “neck” of the pouch with your fingers to seal. Brush the outside with a final thin coating of butter, lift with a thin spatula, and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo and filling to make a total of four pouches. Tear four 5-inch squares of foil and form into small caps with your hands. Place one over the top of each pouch to keep the tips from burning. Bake 20 – 25 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and remove the foil caps.
To make the sauce: Soak the dried tomatoes in water to soften them for cutting, then drain and cut in julienne. Combine the tomatoes, shallots, pistachios, seasonings, wine, and vinegar in a skillet and cook over medium heat until the mixture is reduced to 1-1/2 cups. Add the butter and swirl the skillet to melt the butter and blend the ingredients.
To serve: Pool the sauce on the plates, pushing the tomatoes and pistachios away from the centers. Center a phyllo pouch on each plate. Tie a scallion strip around the neck of each pouch.