Spanakopita

I owe my appreciation of diverse foods to my parents. We spent time in several different countries when I was growing up and the cuisines of the regions we visited were frequently incorporated into our meals. My mom would prepare Indian food one night, Italian the next, and Greek the third. Not to mention my dad who ate herring and cream sauce (maybe our next posting?!) for a midnight snack and every Sunday morning made us Swedish pancakes. So it makes sense that, even though I’m not Greek, I consider Spanakopita a comfort food that reminds me of home. It incorporates 2 of my favorite foods (feta and spinach) enfolded in a flaky crust and baked to a perfect golden brown crisp. Thanks to my mom for inspiring this recipe!

Katryn’s Wine Pairing: Ino Dry Red Wine
Rating: 6.5 out of 10.0

This is a Greek wine that is a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache Rouge. When I first tasted it I made such a weird face that Nathan thought something was seriously wrong with me. It might not be as bad as my initial reaction suggested but it is VERY dry and has a bitterness that was reminiscent of chewing on bitter grape skins. It was better when I drank it with the Spanakopita because the dryness balanced the salty and creamy flavors of the feta. Not a wine I would buy again but I would definitely say that it’s different!

Nathan’s Beer Pairing: Brew Free or Die IPA, 21st Amendment Brewery
Rating: 8.0 out of 10.0

It seems that American IPAs are required to pack in so many hops into them that you can’t taste anything else.  I really appreciated that this beer had a prominent taste of hops but they were moderated enough for you to enjoy some of the floral, sweet notes that also make a great IPA.  An IPA was a great accompaniment with the Spanakopita to wash down the feta, spinach, and crispy dough.  Also, there is a sweet illustration of Lincoln busting out of Mt. Rushmore on the can.

Spanakopita:

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Plain dry bread crumbs
¼  tsp. grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups small-diced feta cheese (12 ounces)
18 13in. x 17in. sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

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 garlic and 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, 2 tablespoons bread crumbs, the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Gently fold in the feta.
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 equal thirds lengthwise. Place ¼ 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 salt, and bake for 30 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.

2 Responses to Spanakopita

  1. Karitsa says:

    oh man. I haven’t had spanakopita in so long! Dani and I are going to the grocery store today and I am definitely buying phyllo dough and feta. Hopefully my somewhat obnoxious oven won’t ruin this

  2. pat ferrance says:

    We had this in our recent trip to Greece. Good stuff

Leave a reply