My friend Brynn was probably the first of my friends to become a foodie. Frankly, I think she was born that way. We used to all furrow our brows in confusion in college when she would spend entire days in her room watching the Food Network, a channel now staunchly among my favorites. And we were dumbfounded with stories such as one I’ve already shared here: she apparently became a whiz at rolling her own pasta around the age most of us were learning to ride a bike. At the end of college, when she finally had her own off-campus kitchen, she showed up on move-in day with a truly astonishing array of dishes, pots, pans and tools (a potato ricer, for instance).
So I suppose it’s no surprise that as soon as we graduated, our group of friends was always thrilled to receive an invitation to Brynn’s house. And she never disappointed: whether it was pulling fresh pita chips out of the oven, a bowl of her famous guacamole from the fridge or a gigantic platter of Moroccan chicken off the grill. And Saturday morning’s brunch (our addled state notwithstanding) was no exception.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipes.)
Our feast on Saturday morning featured this gorgeous butternut squash and feta pie, ensconced in ethereal sheets of flaky phyllo. Along side that, Brynn tossed a colorful, elegant salad of baby greens, crescent moons of cool cantaloupe and velvety avocado, and folds of salty prosciutto. Oh, and mimosas. Musn’t forget the mimosas.
Adapted (by Brynn) from Cooking Light
4 cups coarsely shredded butternut squash (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup uncooked bulgur
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed and divided
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; cover and chill 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add onion, feta and Parmesan cheeses, chopped mint, and black pepper to squash mixture, stirring to combine.
Working with 1 phyllo sheet at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), place 1 sheet into a 10-inch deep-dish pie* plate coated with cooking spray. Gently press sheet into pie plate, allowing ends to extend over edges of pan; lightly brush with olive oil. Place another phyllo sheet across first sheet to form a crisscross design; lightly brush phyllo with olive oil. Repeat procedure with 2 phyllo sheets and olive oil.
Spoon squash mixture over phyllo. Place another phyllo sheet over squash, repeating crisscross design with remaining phyllo and olive oil. Fold in edges of phyllo to fit dish and form a rim. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until golden brown.**
* Brynn used a square baking dish.
** Brynn held the pie in the still warm, but turned off, oven after she turned it out onto a baking sheet until we were ready to eat.
*** Brynn’s Note: leftovers are great after 15 minutes in a hot oven.
juice of a lemon
extra virgin olive oil (amount equal to the amount of lemon juice)
salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey (depending on the sweetness of your salad ingredients)
tablespoon fresh chopped mint
Whisk together all the ingredients.