Cape Gazette
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Cape Flavors

Savory phyllo triangles sure to please guests

By Denise Clemons | Jan 27, 2014
Photo by: Jack Clemons Bob’s Mushroom Phyllo Triangles are sure to please a crowd.

Have you ever attended a party and fallen in love with a dish brought by one of the guests? Maybe I’m fickle, but it happens to me quite often. The only problem is trying to learn how the dish was made while you’re also socializing and nibbling. Typically, you’ll be told how easy it was to throw together in under five minutes. This statement is rarely true, and any recipe details you subsequently receive will surely be incomplete.

However, if you are lucky enough to be at a social event where our friend, Bob LaMorte, has brought an appetizer, you are in for a treat. Not only will his food be delicious and beautifully presented, but if you ask how it was made, he’ll actually tell you. And, he’ll cite sources and alternate ingredients, as well as the results of his preparatory experiments.

Bob is the kind of cook who loves to experiment with new recipes, yet remains sensibly skeptical of what he finds online. This is a sound approach, since so much of what you see on the internet has been serially plagiarized. It’s not uncommon to find the very same list of ingredients and description of assembly with different names and sources.

For example, you can find a layer cake from one author’s “Aunt Sue’s secret files” and another posted as “my father’s grandmother’s favorite dessert.” They will also share identical typographical errors and missing ingredients. The most egregious of these has to be the multiple sites with recipes for an Italian meatloaf - all of which do not list ground meat as an ingredient. As you may imagine, this isn’t something one would be inclined to serve the family for dinner.

Which brings me to the phyllo mushroom triangles in the photo. Just for the record, you may spell the name of these paper-thin, flaky pastry sheets as filo, fillo, or phyllo (despite the feedback you may receive from your word-processing software’s spell checker, which will flag all three versions as incorrect).

Bob’s recipe for these savory bites is included below. He warned that the preparation is time-consuming, which makes the appetizer a good candidate for making ahead of the event and freezing for up to two weeks. His other piece of advice was to avoid folding the triangles too tightly, or the mixture will burst through. After making the batch in the photo, I can confirm this will happen.

The other tricky part about the dish is dealing with the dough. Sold in the freezer section of most groceries, you can’t tell how it’s been handled during shipment. It’s not uncommon to thaw the package according to the directions and still end up with shredded sheets. If you’re using them individually, this can be a problem, as you need to be able to fold them neatly. One solution I found was to layer pieces of two separate sheets in order to make one the correct size.

Despite the complexity of the instructions, I found Bob’s recipe adaptable to substitute ingredients and techniques. I didn’t have any cream cheese, so I mixed in shredded cheddar. And, with my food processor out of commission, I had to rely on a knife to finely chop the shallots and mushrooms.

No matter which version you decide to serve at the next cocktail party, the guests will be sure to ask you for the recipe. Thanks to Bob, you’ll be able to share.

Bob’s Mushroom Phyllo Triangles

3/4 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 C boiling water
1 lb white mushrooms
1 coarsely chopped onion
2 T olive oil
1 t dried oregano
3/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t thyme
6 oz light cream cheese
1/2 C finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
olive oil cooking spray


In a small bowl, cover porcini mushrooms with boiling water; allow to stand for 1 hour. Drain well and chop finely. Place half the white mushrooms in the bowl of a food processor; pulse until finely chopped.

Remove to a bowl and repeat procedure with remaining white mushrooms. Add onion to processor; pulse until finely chopped.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add white mushrooms; cook until mushrooms are tender and liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Stir in porcini mushrooms and seasoning; cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and parsley, mixing until combined.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat the surface of a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

Place 1 phyllo sheet on a flat work surface; cover remaining sheets with a damp towel to prevent them drying out. Cut sheet in half lengthwise and lightly coat with cooking spray. Fold each piece in half lengthwise to form a 3-inch wide strip.

Place a tablespoon of mushroom mixture onto the short end of each strip, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold corner over mixture, forming a triangle; continue folding back and forth, keeping the triangle shape until you reach the end of the dough. Place on prepared cooking sheet, seam side down, and spray top with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo, cooking spray, and mushroom mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Alternatively, assemble and freeze triangles in a zip top bag layered between wax paper for up to 2 weeks. Don’t thaw frozen triangles before baking; bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Yield: 48 triangles.

Mushroom Cheddar Triangles

1/2 lb crimini mushrooms
1/2 lb white mushrooms
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
3 minced shallots
1 pressed garlic clove
1 T snipped chives
2/3 C finely shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/8 t cayenne
24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
olive oil cooking spray


Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Remove stems and reserve for another use. Finely mince mushroom tops; set aside.

Melt butter with oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook until tender and liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.

Stir in garlic and chives; cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and seasonings, mixing until combined.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat the surface of a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper; set aside. Place 1 phyllo sheet on a flat work surface; cover remaining sheets with a damp towel to prevent them drying out. Cut sheet in half lengthwise and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Fold each piece in half lengthwise to form a 3-inch wide strip. Place a tablespoon of mushroom mixture onto the short end of each strip, leaving a 1-inch border.

Fold corner over mixture, forming a triangle; continue folding back and forth keeping the triangle shape until you reach the end of the dough. Place on prepared cooking sheet, seam side down and spray top with cooking spray. Repeat procedure with remaining phyllo, cooking spray, and mushroom mixture.

Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Serve warm. Alternatively, assemble and freeze triangles in a zip-top bag layered between wax paper for up to two weeks.

Don’t thaw frozen triangles before baking; bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Yield: 48 triangles.

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