I’m Popeye the Sailor Man! I’m Popeye the Sailor Man!
I’m strong to the “finich,” Cause I eats me spinach.
I’m Popeye the Sailor Man!
Today is the 81st anniversary of Popeye’s cartoon debut! We need to celebrate with a great spinach dish! I think if Popeye had his way, he’d help himself to several of these savory Spinach Puffs before dashing off to save Olive Oil from the evil Brutus.
I grew up watching the Saturday afternoon “Family Film Festival” with Tom Hatten. Occasionally he would draw pictures of Popeye between movie segments. Prior to that, he did the Popeye Show! (though I can say I am too young to remember that!) I still remember his doing the “agh-argh-argh” just like Popeye!
I wasn’t a fan of canned spinach back then. Let’s honest though, it was great bribe material for Moms. “Don’t you want to be strong like Popeye? You need to eat your spinach!” Now, spinach and his leafy green friends are all the rage. Kale, collards, turnip greens, chard! Thankfully, we don’t need an animated sailor to get kids to eat their greens.
Today, I’m a huge fan of baby spinach! It has to be fresh though! I’m still, not a fan of spinach in a can. (Hey, that rhymes!) I love fresh spinach in pesto, smoothies, salads, sandwiches, pizza, almost anything. It’s a great partner with all kinds of flavors and these Popeye-inspired savory spinach puffs are no exception.
It all starts with 5×5 inch squares of Puff Pastry. I found mine at a local Indian Market, but you can just as easily cut sheets of pastry into squares.
Sauté onions and mushrooms in a bit of olive oil, add some fresh garlic, then LOTS of spinach! (My favorite is Organic Girl Good Clean Greens!) Once the spinach is wilted down, remove from the pan. In the same pan, add ½ cup milk with 6 oz of cream cheese. Heat gently until the cream cheese melts and gets smooth. Add a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and mix the cheese mixture with the wilted veggies. Pile everything into the center of the puff pastry squares, brush the edges with an egg wash and sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-18 minutes. Allow them to cool for a few minutes. Serve warm with a side of fruit salad for a light lunch, or cut into smaller squares for an easy, elegant appetizer.
Make it extra fancy and add a bit of shredded parmesan cheese on the top as soon as they come out of the oven. It will melt and bring another lovely layer of flavor to your dish!
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to eat! Happy Anniversary Popeye!
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and mushrooms and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.
- Do not let garlic get brown.
- Add the entire clamshell of baby spinach into the pan.
- Toss to coat with oil and vegetables.
- Cover and allow to wilt down.
- Put spinach into a medium size bowl and set aside.
- In the same pan, warm milk and cream cheese.
- Stir constantly until the cream cheese is completely melted and smooth.
- Add Worcestershire sauce (about 3 dashes) and salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour cheese mixture over spinach mixture and stir until well combined.
- Place 4 squares of puff pastry on each prepared baking sheet.
- Score a smaller square into the center of each square, leaving about an inch border on each side.
- Prick the center of the square with a fork (so the center won’t puff when you bake it.)
- Place a scant ¼ cup of the spinach mixture in the center of each pastry square.
- In a small bowl, mix the beaten egg with the water.
- Use the egg wash to paint the borders of each puff pastry square.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes, rotating pans half-way through the baking process.
- Immediately after taking puffs from the oven, sprinkle shredded cheese over the top of each square.
- Allow puffs to cool for a few minutes before serving.
- Serve warm