I cannot believe how the weather turned from cold to nice in less than a week. I have been waiting for it for a while now; winter lingered and lingered to the point where I thought it was never going to end.
Fatayer are a Lebanese doughy goodie, perfect for anything. Well, almost anything. They can be great party appetizers, great for lunch and they make an awesome breakfast. In Lebanon they can be sold in the Mana’eesh bakeries in a big size for breakfast or lunch. They are great as holiday food or parties when made at their smallest. As far as the medium size they can be a good variety in any occasion. This is why we chose to make them for Clint’s latest potluck.
Our readers know that Clint and his coworkers have had the ritual for a while. This time the theme was food from a place visited.
Fatayer are also awesome because you can choose many kinds of fillings. You could go totally vegan and choose the spinach or chard, you can go dairy and fill it with cheese or opt for meat and labneh. Yeah meat is also an option but that is a whole different story, because depending on the meat filling you get a different name for them. If it is meat and onion mix they are called Samboussek, if you add tomatoes and spices this would be Lahm-b-Aajeen.
For the potluck we decided to make the spinach (you can also use chard) and cheese versions. I chose to make the cheese ones like Samboussek shape to differentiate them. We used Cotija cheese although in Lebanon we usually use Bulgarian, Feta or Akkawi cheese to fill those. You can use mozzarella also but to me it is not the best flavor, because mozzarella is a neutral cheese and you want a poignant taste in these.
The dough is basic dough pizza, one Clint had made in a previous post and you can find it here. We had some extra dough because we doubled the recipe. We used it to make “pita” bread. It was an attempt to see if making Lebanese bread would work at home.
As for the filling, I am going to give the ingredients for each separately. We got about 45 medium ones between the two kinds.
Spinach (Chard) Fatayer
- 2 bunches spinach, baby spinach or chard or a mix of both – washed, cut and squeezed dry
- 1 small lemon
- ½ an onion (the big American onions)
- 1-2 Tbsp sumac or to taste (I know it can be hard to find in the USA I do recommend adding it. I love the earthy tang of it. We found it in an Asian store, oddly enough)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Marinate for at least an hour or till you feel the spinach is wilted. Cut the spread dough in rounds (you can use a cookie cutter or any round shaped object) then fill it with the spinach mix excluding the liquid. This is very important: if the liquid touches the dough where you are going to close it, it just won’t. You can also strain the juice before starting filling the dough. Close it by pinching the sides together to create a triangular shape.
- 5 oz (142g) Cotija cheese (or Feta)
- ½ an onion
- 1 Tbsp Sumac (opt out if you are using Feta, it is just to give some tang)
Proceed same as the spinach Fatayer, but close them by folding them in half and pinching them shut using a fork or any technique you know.