Lox, Brie and Crimini Purses ~ An elegant appetizer!
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So these appetizers are a little bit fancier that what I usually like to feature here (fancy = time consuming) but dang it, it's the holidays and if you're ever going to "do" fancy, now is the time! These little guys are a treat and can be made ahead of time so they're not as fussy as they might seem. And they're so delish!
8oz crimini mushrooms
5 cloves garlic
1 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper
1 T butter + ½ cup melted butter
Baked Lox Purses
Brie cheese wedge
Package of frozen Phyllo
1/3 pound lox
Bunch of green onions
Okay, get a couple of things ready to work with before you get started. Take the phyllo out of the freezer about two hours ahead of time to thaw. The green onions are actually for a fancy way to tie up your purses, so cut the white bulb part off so you just have the long green stems. Get a pot of water on the stove to boil and a bowl of ice water in your sink. Once you're boiling, cook the green stems for about 30 seconds and with a pair of tongs take them directly out of the boiling water and into the ice water. Cool them for a minute and then roll them up to get the excess water off in a paper towel and set them aside for later use.
Now, get your mushrooms cooked up! I buy the sliced ones so that you just need to give them a quick chop to dice them small, then slide them into a nice big frying pan with the butter, chopped garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Sautee them over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until any liquid has been cooked out of them and they're nice and soft. Set these aside to cool. (It's important that these are fairly dry - they make the phyllo sort of fall apart if they're moist so drain them if you must! And go easy on the salt - the lox is pretty salty on its own.)
Get your brie out, trim up the edges and portion it into about 1/2 T sized chunks. Cut your lox pieces in half.
Now you're just about ready to work with the phyllo sheets! At this point you might want to pour yourself a drink - working with phyllo is not for the faint of heart (or anyone in a hurry) and can be a little frustrating. Melt your butter and get your mushrooms, brie, lox and green onions within easy ready. Carefully unwrap and unroll your phyllo, then cover it with a piece of plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out while you're working. Take a single layer of phyllo, place it on a big cutting board and carefully brush butter on it. Add another layer of phyllo to the first one and brush again. Repeat with a third layer of dough and butter. At this point, I cut about two inches off the end to make things as symmetrical as possible and then cut your big piece in half to form two purses. Add a tablespoon of mushrooms, a chunk of brie and a piece of lox to the middle of your phyllo. Carefully gather the edges and tie up with a piece of the green onion. You made a purse! Admire your creation for only a moment and then transfer it quickly to a baking sheet that's been covered with foil and sprayed with non-stick spray. Repeat until you have used up all of your phyllo dough, brush the tops with butter, and then bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until they turn golden brown. These can easily be served hot right out of the oven but they seem to hold up just a little better slightly or fully cooled. Enjoy!