Thursday, January 26, 2006

Spanikopita: Recipe

Spanikopita is such a delicious classic: a rich, tangy spinach and feta filling tucked inside layer after crispy layer of crumbly filo dough.

It occured to me while I was making this--one of my all-time favorite vegetarian recipes--that "spaniko" is probably Greek for spinach, and "pita" means, like, bread, as in pita bread. So spanikopita is precisely 'spinach-bread' in Greek. Right? (Maybe this is something everybody else knows already.)

Anyway, this is one of the few dishes in which I usually use frozen vegetables. I just hate washing spinach; I never can get all the grit off, and I don't like that leathery stuff that comes in the pre-washed bags either.

You can use fresh spinach, of course. I sometimes do when I'm not feeling lazy. Just wash it really well, steam it, then squeeze most of the water out and proceed. And don't come cryin' to me if there's dirt in the final product.

It used to be hard to find packaged filo, but now it's in the freezer section of every grocery store.

VEGANS: Skip the eggs, use a combination of grated soy cheese and crumbled tofu to equal the amount of feta, and use olive oil instead of butter.

SPANIKOPITA


2 lbs. froze
n (or fresh) spinach
1 package filo dough

6 eggs
3/4 lb feta (Greek or Bulgarian sheep's feta rules)
1 onion, chopped

olive oil

salt and pepper

oregano

butter


1. Dethaw the filo dough according to the directions on the package.

2. Dethaw the spinach and then squeeze most of the water out of it. Put it in a large mixing bowl.

3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and then throw in the chopped onion. Saute until they're very soft and picking up some brown. Mix with the spinach.

4. Beat the eggs and stir into the spinach mixture. Crumble the feta and add it as well. Season with oregano, salt and pepper.

5. Preheat the oven to 375. Butter or oil the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan.

6. Melt about 4-6 Tbsp of butter in a saucepan. Open your filo dough package and stack it on a flat surface. (Have a slightly-damp towel or plastic wrap or the like nearby to cover it when you're not working with it: if it dries out it can be hard to work with.)

7. Use a pastry brush to brush the top filo sheet with melted butter. Place it in your baking pan. Continue in this fashion--letting the edges hang over the sides--until you've used a little more than half of the filo.

8. Pour in the spinach mixture.

9. Continue to lay buttered filo sheets on top until you've used them all. Tuck the overhanging dough into the pan. (If you have LOTS of overhang, you can trim some, but not all, of it.)

10. With a knife, cut through the top layers of filo to the filling in three places, small diagonal slashes, to allow it to vent.

11. Bake for 50 minutes.

12. Cut into squares or triangles. Serve with red wine and vegetarian stuffed grape leaves.

3 Comments:

Blogger Chloe said...

your spanakopita sounds great. pita means pie in greek. i know cause 1. i'm greek 2.i eat lots of it

6:40 PM  
Blogger FilmStocker said...

Thanks. High praise indeed for my not-so-Greek spanikopita recipe... especially when it's from such a beautiful Greek woman. You've made my day.

I'd love to learn Greek and visit Greece one day. What a beautiful country, culture, people, history... And the food, too, of course!

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you might want to thaw the pastry dough and spinich before you try to use it. If you dethaw the ingredients, you would actually be freezing them! :)

12:56 AM  

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