Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Spectacular Spanakopita

With the holiday season right around the corner, I like to think about dishes that can serve multipurposes. Spanakopita, the traditional Greek spinach pie is one of those ideal dishes. Make small ones and they make great appetizers or larger ones that make great entrees especially when served with a salad. You can make these ahead of time, freeze them, and they will be ready to pull out when company comes.    

2 packages (448 g each) cooked frozen spinach, thawed
2 medium onions, chopped finely
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
250 grams feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 Cup chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp dried basil leaves
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp olive oil
6 Tbsp butter, melted
1 package filo pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 375°F.
1. in a large frying pan, heat olive oil and saute onions for 5 minutes until soft and slightly browned. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
2. Squeeze all the excess water from the spinach and then add to the pan and stir to combine. Take the pan off the heat and let cool for about 5-10 minutes.
3. To the pan add the crumbled feta, fresh dill and basil. Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper as desired. (we find some feta very salty and the mixture might not require additional salt.
4. Crack eggs into a bowl and scramble lightly.  Add eggs to the mixture and stir to combine. Put this aside until you are ready to make the spanakopitas.
5. Melt the butter in a small bowl, and unroll the filo pastry carefully and cover with a slightly damp towel.
6. Take 1 phyllo sheet from stack and arrange on clean, dry, work surface with the short side nearest you (keeping remaining sheets covered) and brush lightly with some of the melted butter. Put a second sheet on top of the first and brush with more butter. Add a third sheet, but do not add more butter.
7. If making lunch sized spanakopitas, cut the stack in half lengthwise, if making appetizers, cut the stack in 3 strips. A pizza cutter or long chef knife works best.
8. For lunch sized, use approximately 2/3 of a cup of filling near 1 corner of a strip on the end nearest to you, for appetizers, use approximately 2 tablespoons of filing.
9. Fold the corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding strip (like a flag), maintaining triangle shape. Don't worry about any funny ends, you can stick them down with a little butter.
10. Put triangle, seam side down, on a large baking sheet covered in parchment and brush top with butter. Make more triangles in same manner, using all of the phyllo.
11. Bake triangles in middle of oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot or room temperature.

If you want to freeze them for later use, do not brush the top with butter before freezing. Freeze individually on a cookie sheet then transfer to an airtight container until needed.  Before baking, thaw and then brush with butter before baking.

1 comment:

  1. I buy these at one of the food club stores but have never tried to make my own. I love these so much that I actually eat too many at a time. They come in packages of 4 with 12 triangles in each. I could easily sit down and eat all 12 if I didn't control myself. Thanks for the recipe.