Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Happy New Year everyone! Hope you all had as great a holiday as I did. I know I promised my next post would be on preserving lemons, but you'll have to be patient. They are still sitting in the fridge a'preservin' and I didn't feel like taking them out for photos just yet. So instead I'm posting a recipe for an amazing appetizer I used to buy frozen all the time (...and eat the entire tray myself, but who's counting). I decided a while back that I wanted to try my hand at making spanakopita myself. This particular recipe has three different kinds of onions, but don't fear because the end product is definitely not overwhelming in the onion department. However, the flavors meld deliciously with the spinach and feta cheese. Serve that up in a flaky, crusty phyllo dough and your guests are sure to swoon! I won't lie, working with phyllo dough is time-consuming and can be frustrating at times when the dough breaks apart, but it's totally worth it for special occasions.
Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
4 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs spinach, cleaned, tough stems removed (I've used fresh and frozen in the past and both have worked well. However, if you use frozen make sure to completely thaw and squeeze the heck out of it because it's much wetter than fresh)
6 spring onions (I usually use green onions because spring onions can be hard to find out of season), cleaned and sliced thin
1 leek, trimmed into white and tender green, and washed
1 medium red onion, chopped fine
3/4 cup fresh dill, minced
1/2 lb crumbled feta
3 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1 package phyllo dough sheets (in the freezer section near the puff pastry and pie shells)
1/2 cup olive oil, or as much is needed
To make the filling, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onions and leek until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and sauté until the leaves have wilted and most of the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes (if using frozen, this part won't take as long because it's already wilted). Remove from heat and allow to cool for a bit. If spinach was not chopped, chop slightly before use.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Add the dill and feta to the spinach mixture, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Finally, mix in the beaten eggs.
Lightly olive-oil a 10x15" rectangular baking pan. Open the phyllo dough and unroll onto a working surface. Cover with a damp cloth or paper towel; keep covered the whole time (this is annoying, I know).
Working layer by layer, place phyllo sheets into the pan, brushing with olive oil between each sheet. Allow edges to hang over the sides. Use up half of the sheets in this manner, then spread the spinach filling across the top layer. Tuck in the draped edges. Repeat layering with the rest of the sheets in the same manner, brushing with olive oil between each one. Feel free to either fold the excess back onto itself in the end or just cut it off with scissors (that's what I did).
Using a sharp knife, score the upper layers of the pastry into the size you'll want to serve, being careful NOT to cut through the bottom layer.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve just warm or at room temperature.