Friday, September 17, 2010

spanakopita

Spanakopita


Maybe you've never worked with filo dough. Maybe you've never eaten much feta cheese. Maybe you've never tried much Greek food. Well, this is the perfect recipe to help get past any apprehension you might have about this excellent arena of flavor - Greek Spinach Pie. It's a lovely combination of spinach, cheeses, herbs, garlic and a most excellent crust. I can't quite explain filo dough - it's light and flaky, but it's also substantial and kinda chewy once baked. It makes the perfect dough for apple strudel too! A hint - when working with filo dough, it must be completely thawed and you must work fairly quickly. It is a very forgiving dough, but it can get dried out easily and because it is so thin, it will break and cause frustration.... Just treat it gently and you'll have great success. 


Here's what you need:
1 box filo dough - never to be confused with puff pastry!
          I'm not sure if it's spelled  f-i-l-o, or f-i-l-l-o, or p-h-y-l-l-o, but none of that matters- you'll love it.  It is found in the frozen food aisle near the frozen bread dough.
2 boxes of frozen chopped spinach - thawed. Be sure to 'wring' it out a bit.... don't want it too wet.
2 C minced or chopped onion (depends on how much onion you want to bite into I guess)
5-6 cloves garlic - minced
8 oz Greek feta cheese
1 C large curd cottage cheese
1 t oregano
1 t basil
2 t flour
lots of good olive oil
pastry brush ( a must for this dish...)



Here's what you do:
Saute the onions in a bit of olive oil until they are tender, but not brown. Add the herbs and garlic and cook a few more minutes. Add the spinach and cook until it is a beautiful mixture of veggies.
Then add 2 T flour and stir and cook for about 2 more minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. This flour will help give your spanakopita body. 



In the mean time:
Brush some olive oil in and around a glass 9x13 dish
Carefully unroll the filo, carefully unpeel one of the beautiful sheets, and carefully lay it in the dish. Brush some oil on top of the dough.
Continue layering and oiling the sheets of dough until you have 9 sheets of filo in the pan. You may use the brush to crunch down the edges of the sheets to keep it under control.


Don't feel like to you need to saturate the filo with oil.... 



Crumble the feta with a fork and add the cottage cheese. Mix well and add lots of freshly ground black pepper. ( I am thinking that next time I make this, I might whirl the cheeses in my food processor to make it completely smooth... I wonder how that texture would be?)
Combine the cheeses with the sauteed vegetables and put 1/2 of this mixture on the dough.


Layer 5 more filo sheets over the top of the filling brushing with olive oil each time.


Add the remaining spinach mixture.


Finish by layering 9 more filo sheets over the entire thing.... be sure to keep oiling between each layer. Tuck in any stray dough with the pastry brush until it is all neat and tidy.


Bake 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until nice and brown.  Let it sit for a while before cutting. Enjoy! It's outstanding the first night and it is outstanding as leftovers - I eat it for breakfast the next day! 

Ready for the oven.

1 comment:

  1. You've encouraged me to try phylo dough - I've always been intimidated by it! The recipe sounds delicious, and I'll let you know how things turn out...

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by my Living Cookbook! I appreciate each and every comment!

There was an error in this gadget