Spanakopita – Spinach and Feta Cheese Pie
Who does not love phlyllo dough (filo dough)? Seriously. Paper thin sheets of unleavened flour dough, typically brushed with butter or olive oil, and baked until golden brown. You could figure out so many ways to make some dishes just out of that. I am exploring the whole phyllo dough experience lately, and granted, I made some killer baklava back in the the day, but I wanted to do something Greek this weekend, only due to the fact that I was not able to attend the annual Greek Fest held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I could not get Greek chicken off of my mind, as well as baklava, so I decided to take things into my own hands and get down and make spanakopita.
Say that three times. Spanakopita. My kids had fun trying to say it as they watched me make this really simple, yet super delicious dish. Spanokopita reminds me a lot like baklava, however it is so much more savory as it includes feta, spinach, and parsley.
This takes about 20 minutes to prepare, and about 25 minutes to bake, and on your table in no time.
- 1/2 pound of phyllo dough, thawed
- 1/3 cup of oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
- generous pinch of salt
- generous pinch of pepper
- 1/4 cup of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 12 oz bag of fresh spinach
- 1 bunch of green onions, ends and tips tossed, sliced
- 1/4 cup of red onion, diced
- 10 oz great feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 12 tbsp butter, melted
Begin my making a garlic oil. This is easy, as you will bring your olive oil to medium heat in a pan, adding your garlic, and let cook until a light golden brown, being careful not to burn it. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon, and let the oil sit in the pan. Next, add roughly a tablespoon of the olive oil to a deep skillet and bring to a medium to high heat. Add half of your spinach to the skillet. Cook this until it wilts, approximately 1 minute. Remove the wilted spinach to a strainer to remove as much water from the spinach as possible. Repeat this process with the rest of the spinach.
Next, bring the remaining oil back to heat and add in your scallions and red onion, cooking just until soft. Add in your parsley, and spinach, mixing well. Remove from the skillet and place in a small bowl to let cool.
To a larger bowl, beat your eggs, and add the feta cheese, mixing until nice and creamy. Toss in the cooled spinach mixture, and combine.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. As the oven preheats, melt your butter.
To a large baking pan, use your pastry brush, and lightly coat the pan with some melted butter. Open your phyllo dough, and cover with a towel as it can harden on you if you do not move quickly. You will lightly butter each top of the phyllo, adding six pieces on the bottom, remembering to lightly brush butter on each sheet. Once you have six down, spread the spinach and cheese mixture evenly over the top. Repeat your process with six more sheets. Add more spinach and cheese to the top, and place eight buttered sheets on top.
Bake for approximately 25-28 minutes, until you have a great golden brown color. Remove and let this cool and set before your slice into it.
Trust me on this one, it is really good. Creamy, flaky, and just watching my wife it it, really comforting. I hope you enjoy.
Handling phyllo can be tricky, though, right? Worth it I suppose, as your recipe brings to mind a type of creamed spinach (in a great way) layered between those buttery, crisp phyllo sheets. Mmmmm, maybe I better rethink my anxiety about phyllo!
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Will be trying this soon.