It’s no secret to those who know me, I hate spinach. I’m actually not fond of many veggies, but I really don’t see the point of spinach. However, there is one use for it outside of Popeye cartoons – spanakopita. If you’re like my friends and have been unfortunate enough to never hear of this dish, it’s an amazing concoction of spinach, cheese and phyllo dough that you should either go buy ingredients for now or find your nearest greek restaurant and order some. NOW.
The February Daring Cook’s Challenge was hosted by Audax or Audax Artifex. The challenge brought us to Greece with a delicious, flaky spanakopita – a spinach pie in a phyllo pastry shell. I’ll be sharing with you my personal recipe which is a huge hit at every party I take them (even beat out a professional caterers at a Christmas party a while ago). It’s not exactly healthy, but it sure does taste good. And I have to apologize. There will be no photo’s of this creation, because my friends ate all of them before I got to take photos. Worse things have happened I suppose.
Here’s what you need:
1 package phyllo dough (sold in the frozen section of your grocery store)
1 box of butter – you won’t need the whole thing, but always get more
1 pound fresh spinach
10-12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional but a good idea)
1. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet.
2. Add as much spinach as fits in the skillet.
3. Wilt the spinach – Allow it to cook until it gets soft and sad looking, and loses all of its volume. Remove the wilted spinach and add more from the unwilted stock, and keep going until all your spinach is wilted.
4. Now, the spinach will be really hot so wait a little bit otherwise you’ll scald your hands.
5. Pick up handfuls of the spinach and squeeze it – there’s a lot of liquid left in there – by the end, you should be down to 1 large handful of very condensed spinach.
6. Roughly chop the spinach.
7. Combine the chopoped spinach, feta cheese, and nutmeg. Mix until well combined.
6. Melt the butter, one stick at a time as needed.
7. Lay out 1 sheet of the phyllo dough, and brush generously with melted butter. Repeat with so you have 3-4 sheets of buttered dough in a pile on top of each other.
8. Cut the dough into several long strips.
9. Place a small slightly flattened lump of spinach/cheese mixture at the end of one of the dough strips.
10. Fold up the dough like a flag, so that you are left with a triangle.
11. Lightly brush the top with melted butter.
12. Repeat until you run out of filling.
13. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
14. Best if served warm.