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Sunday, June 19, 2011


I find that most anything you cook in fillo is yummy and spinach pie is no exception. I love my Greek heritage and the foods. Greek food is very healthy; using lots of greens, olive oil, lemon, garlic, fish, yogurt, nuts, and honey (Not necessarily all at once!). What's not to love. So, last night I brought the Melomakarona cookies and a large pan of Spanikopita to the Opera for my colleagues and friends. Sweet and savory.
I looked in my pantry to see what greens I had, thankfully I had enough spinach and green onions for the dish.
Fresh spinach, green onions, dill, mint, and a leek.
First step is to rinse to clean all your greens and herbs.
1 to 2 lbs spinach
2 to 3 bunches of green onions - chopped
a handful of fresh dill, parsley and mint - finely chopped
(NOTE: there is NO garlic in spanikopita!)
chopped ingredients ready to be sauteed in olive oil
In a large pot heat up some good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil and saute onions over a high heat. (tonight I only had two bunches of green onions so for fun I decided added a leek (which was in my fridge.) Until slightly translucent.

onions Don't overcook!
Then add the spinach a bunch at a time and use a wooden spoon to mix.
Cook just enough to wilt but maintain that green color.
Cooked just right
Remove from stove and put in a colander to drain. It is important that you drain fluids so the spanikopita is not watery. I let it sit for at least an hour and then squeeze with the back of a wooden spoon to get out anymore liquid.
Next step is the cheese.
Fillo and cheese filling
You will need:
One box of fillo (1 lb), I like the Athens fillo dough and I try to make sure it's fresh. I take it out of the refrigerator a couple of hours before I'm going to use it.
I'm not always accurate about measurements, I tend to put a large spoonful of this and that.
Around a 1/2 lb feta cheese, crumbled - I like Valbreso french feta because it's creamy and flavorful, Trader Joes has a good french feta as well.
1/2 cup grated kaseri - if you don't have that use something like fontinella.
2 eggs - I am so lucky to have a friend like Kazi, who has chickens that produce amazingly tasty golden yolked eggs. She feeds them very well. I know my food taste better when I use those eggs.
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup or more ricotta cheese
Mixed cheeses and eggs together.
Then add to drained spinach mixture.
Before the blessed union.
And then it will look like this. Creamy and delicious.
Spinach and cheese. YUM
pre-heat over to 350
First melt one quarter pound butter in a small saucepan.
just enough butter
Then lightly spray a large 13 x 9 pan with olive oil
Open the fillo, carefully because it's delicate. Unroll and leave on top the wax paper. Keep a slightly damp towel to make sure it doesn't dry out. You will use both rolls in box. I use half of the fillo on the bottom and half for the top.
fillo ready to be layered in the pan.
drip some olive oil in bottom of the pan and brush to cover. Layer a few sheets of fillo over the sides and on the bottom - like so.
layering the fillo
I alternate butter and olive oil - just make sure you have enough butter to brush the top. four to six sheets - brush with oil. Use one roll for bottom. Now add the spinach mixture.
spinach in pan
spread evenly and then pull the sides over on top and layer the rest of the fillo on the top, brushing oil and butter. Always end with butter - it helps to brown the top.
Once it's ready - use a very sharp knife and score lengthwise. I slice all the way to the bottom and it should look like this.

It is ready for the oven. Bake for roughly 40 minutes or until golden brown on top. It should be flaky. I use my convection bake for a quicker time and it melts the ingredients wonderfully. I'll do 15 to 20 minutes regular and then another 15 minutes on the convection.
Baking at 350

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