Every year after Thanksgiving, I find myself craving something as far from roasted bird as possible. These are the times for Thai takeout, sushi eaten curled up on the couch and breakfast-for-dinner.
A nice meal my Greek-looking friend and I recently enjoyed would be perfect for such times. Ina Garten’s take on that classic Greek dish: spanikopita.
Ina creates a robustly flavored filling of spinach, toasted pine nuts, onion, scallions, Parmesan, nutmeg and cubes of feta cheese that becomes sealed in a packet of buttery phyllo dough that flakes off as you bite into it.
Working with phyllo is always aggravating, and this time was no different. Next time, I will make fully sure that my dough it completely thawed before working with it – lest it break off into a million shards.
We used less than half the recipe, freezing the rest for another time. We made six spanikopitas, which we served with Grant’s classic cucumber/tomato/onion salad like his Southern mama used to make.
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
- 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
- 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Plain dry bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups small-diced feta cheese (12 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- Flaked sea salt, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan, add the onion, and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the scallions, and cook for another 2 minutes until the scallions are wilted but still green. Meanwhile, gently squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl.
When the onion and scallions are done, add them to the spinach. Mix in the eggs, Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Gently fold in the feta and pine nuts.
Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface with the long end in front of you. Brush the dough lightly with butter and sprinkle it with a teaspoon of bread crumbs. Working quickly, slide another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, brush it with butter, and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs. (Use just enough bread crumbs so the layers of phyllo don’t stick together.) Pile 4 layers total on top of each other this way, brushing each with butter and sprinkling with bread crumbs. Cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. Place 1/3 cup spinach filling on the shorter end and roll the phyllo up diagonally as if folding a flag. Then fold the triangle of phyllo over straight and then diagonally again. Continue folding first diagonally and then straight until you reach the end of the sheet. The filling should be totally enclosed. Continue assembling phyllo layers and folding the filling until all of the filling is used. Place on a sheet pan, seam sides down. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked salt, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.
This was so delicious that I instantly burned my tongue so bad that I had to suck on ice for the next 15 minutes. But it was WORTH IT!
Enjoy, friends! xoxo