Case in point: I knew I had once clipped a recipe from a Sur la Table catalog for a phyllo dough tart with cherry tomatoes and feta cheese. I couldn’t find it online, at least, not the right recipe. I did find a recipe that looked similar, but it wasn’t quite right. So as a last resort, I turned to my recipe file.
My recipe file is a box of photocopies, clipped magazine pages, and grease-stained recipe cards with no discernible organization except strata. The most recently used or clipped recipes are generally toward the top of the stack. I knew I hadn’t seen this recipe in a while, so I dumped it out and started at the bottom.
And then I began the walk down my culinary memory lane. There was a copy of the page from an old Lion Club cookbook from the mid-1990s, with notes added at the bottom of the page by my mom. It was one of those cookbooks where members submit their favorite recipes for a fund-raising project. My mom had started the recipe for Bohemian Kolaches, then realized that the recipe left off the last part of the instructions. The name of the woman who submitted it was on the recipe, along with her hometown, so my very resourceful mother called information and got the woman’s phone number. The woman was surprised to get the call, but very helpfully walked my mother through the rest of the recipe and they chatted for quite some time.
There was the copy of my grandmother’s cobbler recipe, with the familiar handwriting at the top: “Bob's favorite.” Bob was my grandfather and boy, did he like that cobbler.
I flipped through the pages documenting a brief obsession with making homemade tortillas. Then the newsletters from our CSA that included recipes for the vegetables included in that week’s delivery (I could have weeded out the recipe newsletters, which contained more recipes for kale than I will ever need or want). That era when we used the fondue pot we got as a wedding present.
And then there it was, on top of the Moosewood recipe for cauliflower soup. The recipe for Phyllo Pizza with Tomatoes and Feta, torn from the pages of a Sur la Table catalog and stuck in a box for several years.
And now I’m sharing it with you because, if memory serves, I really liked this. I am going to make it as soon as this heat wave breaks and I can use the oven again.
- 10 sheets phyllo dough
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgen olive oil
- 3/4 cup coarsely grated mozzarella (about 3 oz.)
- 3/4 cup finely crumbled feta cheese (about 3 oz.)
- 1/2 cup grated Kefaloryri or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1 pint (2 cups) yellow, red, and orange cherry tomatoes, halved
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the stack of phyllo sheets in half widthwise to make 2 stacks, approximately 9x12 inches. Cover the stacks with a barely dampened towel.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the oil and stir together.
- In a bowl, combine the mozzarella, feta, Kefalotryi, oregano, and salt to taste.
- Lightly oil a large baking sheet with the butter-oil mixture. Placed one piece of phyllo in the center of the baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the phyllo with the butter-oil mixture. Place another layer of phyllo directly on top. Brush lightly with the butter-oil mixture. Repeat with one more layer. You now have three layers of phyllo on the pan.
- Sprinkle with a scant 2 tablespoons of the combined cheeses. Continue with three more layers of phyllo, brushing lightly with butter-oil between each layer. Sprinkle with another scant 2 tablespoons of the combined cheeses. Continue until you have used all of the phyllo. If the butter-oil mixture gets cold in the meantime, warm it on the stove.
- Brush the top layer with the butter-oil mixture. Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese. Sprinkle with the scallions and then the tomatoes, evenly over the top of the pizza, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Season the tomatoes with salt and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Trim the edges if desired.
- Bake on the top shelf of the oven until the cheese is melted and the phyllo is golden and crisp on the edges, 20 to 30 minutes.