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Spinach, Mushroom and Parmesan Squares

Makes one 8-inch (20 cm) square pan or 36 bite-sized pieces
Prep: 15 Minutes
Cook: 30 Minutes

These squares offer a lovely colourful “pop” to an hors d’oeuvre plate, and the combination of spinach, mushrooms and cheese works wonderfully well.

Make ahead: These squares are a real timesaver when you make them ahead and, before cutting them, chill for at least 2 hours or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then slice while still cold. Before serving, place on a baking tray and warm in the oven at 325°F (160°C) for about 12 minutes.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lb (225 g) sliced cremini or button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) finely diced shallot (or 1/2 medium onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) dry white vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 oz (125 g) (1/2 pkg) cream cheese, at room temperature, cut in cubes
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) sour cream
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup (65 g) dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pkg (10 oz/300 g) frozen chopped spinach, thawed

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch (20 cm) square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the oil, followed by the mushrooms and shallots (or onions). Sauté until any liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, vermouth and oregano and continue to stir until the vermouth has evaporated, about 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese by hand to soften it and then beat in the sour cream (you can switch to a whisk here to make sure it’s completely smooth). Stir in the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, eggs, egg yolk, salt, pepper and nutmeg until evenly combined.
  4. Drain the thawed spinach and squeeze out any excess liquid. Add to the cream cheese mixture and stir well, breaking up the spinach to make sure it is well blended (it can be dense after squeezing). Stir in the mushroom mixture and spoon into the prepared pan, spreading to level it.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the centre springs back when gently pressed. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing to serve. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: These squares also make a great base for fancier hors d’oeuvres. Bake them in a 9 × 13-inch (22.5 × 32.5cm) pan (bake time stays the same) so that they are a little flatter. Once baked, top each square with a cooked shrimp and a little mayo, or some smoked salmon with dill cream cheese, or roasted peppers and a bocconcini, secured with a frilly toothpick.