Back home in Austria (funny how I keep calling it "back home" although nowadays, I feel much more at home here or wherever it is that I live at the time) we enjoy a strong Turkish influence, due to many immigrants (now in second and third generations) - so many, in fact, that you couldn't really call them a minority anymore. They dominate the stalls at whichever market you go to and have introduced a lot of new food, especially fruit, bread and spices, to enrich our daily menus (not to speak of doner kebabs, which I personally am not very fond of). In Turkish restaurants, you often find a starter translating as "cigarette borek" - completely nicotine-free, I hope. You could call it the empanada of the Levantine region, waferthin fillo pastry, filled with anything and everything: meat, cheese, vegetables. The shapes vary as much as the fillings, in this particular instance it's long and thin, ressembling a cigarette.
In his fabulous book Canapés, Eric Treuille proposes such fillo rolls stuffed with an artichoke and herb mix, a lemon mayonnaise served alongside to dip them in. As pretty much everthing I've tried out of what I now call his "bible" so far, it is real easy to do, great to prepare ahead (apparently you could prepare quite a while in advance and bake from frozen) and, as is to be expected, a real different addition to your drinks party. When you take even more shortcuts (like me, for example, using top-quality mayonnaise instead of making my own) then you can work a little less hard from now on, without missing out on the wow-factor.
Artichoke fillo rolls with lemon mayonnaise*
250 g grilled artichoke hearts (drained)
100 g parmesan (finely grated)
1 egg (lightly beaten)
2 tbsp parsley (chopped)
2 tbsp oregano (chopped)
2 cloves garlic
5 x 3 fillo sheets
80 - 100 g butter (melted)
100 g sunblush tomatoes (to decorate)
For the dip:
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
Put all the ingredients for the artichoke filling in a food processor and work into a smooth mixture.
Brush 3 fillo sheets each with butter and lay them on top of each other to paste them together. Arrange a pack of sheets in front of you facing the narrow end (aka height) and arrange about 1.5 tsp of the mixture in a very narrow line alongside the bottom end. Wrap the pastry around the filling and roll tightly, about one and a half times, then cut the roll off with a knife and reserve. Continue wrapping, filling and rolling, aiming for a minimum of 4 rolls out of one stack (I managed five each). Arrange the rolls on a non-stick baking tray and leave to rest in a cool place until ready to bake. (You can freeze this in advance and bake straight from frozen, in which case you will have to adjust the baking time slightly.)
For the dip, put all the ingredients in a bowl and combine well. Reserve.
Preheat the oven to 180 C and bake the rolls for ca. 15 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately, with the dip to the side.
* Based on a recipe in Eric Treuille, Canapés