Greek spinach and feta pie, spanakopita, has been a favourite of mine for years, but I had never tried making it before. A couple of weeks ago, I was watching or reading something that said that even a child could make it, it was that easy. I got offended and decided to make some myself. It was pretty darn easy!!
Let’s forget the part where I didn’t know how to deal with filo and took it out of the freezer RIGHT when I needed to use it. I mean, the recipe I had didn’t mention anything about thawing out the filo, so how was I supposed to know you’re supposed to thaw it in the fridge for 12-24 hours before you need it! As panic was sinking in, I made things worse by searching the internet for “how to quick thaw filo”, only to find the direst warnings NOT to try to quick thaw filo. Crap on a stick. Ignoring all of the warnings, I laid the frozen roll on my cooktop (the oven was on, and keeping things a little warm) and slowly warmed and rolled out the filo. There were a few more cracks than there might have been otherwise, but I was so relieved to be able to resolve the problem quickly and move on to the building of my pie. I have modified the recipe below to include that the filo needs to be THAWED, argh.
It turned out fantasticly, and we probably ate more of it than we should have. I should mention that I made half of the recipe listed below — but keep in mind that you still need about 14 sheets of filo. I just made it in an 8×8 pan instead of 9×9, requiring less filling, but the same number of filo sheets (just shorter ones). It was probably a little flatter because of this, but no less delicious. Seriously, we didn’t need bigger!
When I first saw this recipe, I saw that there was dill and parsley and no oregano. I thought that was odd (huh, dill, weird). On first bite, I realized that the dill flavour really makes it. We ate this with a lovely spread of Greek-inspired food, such as dolmathakia (grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs), various greek olives, feta and tomatoes with oregano, grilled squid and some lovely eggplant bundles (which will be covered in a future post). Also, lots of wine (sorry, I didn’t have any Ouzo or Metaxa).
I’m actually making a greeky brunch for us tomorrow, too, thanks to the new Food & Drink magazine. More on that later!
Spanakopita (spinach filo pie)
6 to 8 servings
modified from this recipe
- 3tbsp Olive oil
- 8 Scallions, chopped
- 2lbs Spinach, cleaned and destemmed
- 1 cup Fresh dill, chopped
- 1 cup Italian parsley, chopped
- 1/2 lb Feta cheese, crumbled
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 Eggs, beaten
- 12-14 sheets Filo dough, thawed (follow the instructions on the package)
- 1/2 cup Melted butter or olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 2tbsp butter or oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the spinach in batches, stirring each addition to wilt. Finally stir in the dill and parsley. Remove to a colander or strainer and allow to cool somewhat.
- When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze out any excess liquid. Remove the spinach to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
- Mix together the spinach, feta, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Adjust seasoning to taste and stir in the eggs.
- Grease a 9-inch square baking dish or a deep-dish pie tin. Lay a layer of filo over the dish and brush with butter or oil. Add 5 or six more sheets of filo, each at a different angle to cover the entire bottom of the dish, brushing each layer with butter or oil before adding the next. Press the filo carefully down into all corners of the dish.
- Add the spinach-cheese filling to the dish and spread out evenly.
- Using the remaining filo, repeat the process of adding layers to form a top to the dish. Trim the edges of filo to leave about 1 1/2 inches hanging over the edge of the dish. Roll the edges together toward the center of the dish to seal the spanikopita.
- Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake until the crust is nicely browned, anywhere from 45-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for about 15 minutes before serving.