Tuesday, October 26, 2010
"Spana-what?" was one response I received on my Facebook page. Spanakopita. Greek. Phyllo dough, spinach, feta cheese....all wrapped up in individual strudels. Perfect for dinner. Perfect for kids. Although, you should have seen my 1-year-old's face as he held a flaky spanakopita in his little hand....he looked at me for verification that yes, I did just hand him something edible. After the first bite, he looked at me as if I was the flake. But he ate it. Even my sugar princess ate it. This is not the first time I have made spanakopita, but this time, they turned out beautiful and tasted just as pretty (if that is possible!). A hint for you, especially if it is your first time working with phyllo dough--it is pretty sensitive. It is so thin, and will dry out so quickly, so be sure to keep it covered while you are working on building the layers. Also, you will need more butter than the recipe lists. Phyllo dough is madly in love with butter.
Have fun! Enjoy! Leave a comment, telling me how it went and what you thought!
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten
2 tbl. cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and drained all all liquid
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbl. Parmesan cheese
1 tbl. plain bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
12 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1 stick unsalted butter, melted (You might need more than this.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat olive oil in medium pan and add the onion. Cook on medium-low heat until onions are tender and soft, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, squeeze the liquid out of the spinach (wrapping it in a paper towel and squeezing works perfectly!). Transfer spinach to a large bowl.
Add cooked onions to spinach, and mix in the eggs, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Gently fold in the feta cheese.
Place one sheet of phyllo dough on flat work surface with the long end in front of you. Brush the dough lightly with melted butter. Working quickly, slide another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, and brush it with butter. Repeat two more times, for a total of 4 layers of phyllo dough. Cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. Place a couple tablespoons of 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, 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 the filling is used. Place each strudel on a baking sheet, seam sides down. Brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.