Sunday, August 26, 2012

YiaYia Approved Spanakopita

OK, so I don't have a Greek grandmother to invite into my kitchen and try my Spanakopita. I did however get a few tips from my Greek friend Kristi who used to watch her YiaYia cook it. Unfortunately, I am not at the level where I make it look as easy as making a bowl of cereal. Nevertheless, I did it and did it darn well on my first attempt. I apologize for my lack of modesty, but when you manage to cook this item, I give you full bragging rights because it is not the easiest dish to make. It is however, extremely delicious and worth the attempt. Remember the post I wrote about going out on the limb and trying out a new challenging recipe? (See pasta alfredo post).  Well, add this number to the list. You truly feel empowered once you've tried your first bite. Especially if you're as lucky as I am and have a Greek friend to give it two-thumbs-up!

I decided to make this recipe on a whim when I realized I had a couple hours to spare.  It was take a nap, or get my butt up and get a few ingredients from the store to make the Spanakopita.  I am ashamed to say that the nap came in as a very close second.  I fetched the three ingredients I didn't have and came home to take on the challenge.  You'd be surprised of what measures you take in order to use up the large amount of food that is about to expire.  In my case, it was feta cheese that I convinced myself I needed a couple of months after being married.  Did I mention I purchased this number at Costco? We all know where this is going.  Let me give you some advice...If you are a family of two, unless you're planning on cooking for a Greek army in the next few months, do not purchase the tub of crumbled feta cheese.

Regardless, I ended up making a Lebanese feta salad (see one of my first posts) and Spanakopita.  Add some wine and you have a deliciously ethnic meal. This dish is fun, sort of easy, and positively delicious!

Ingredients
2 large bags or 3 bunches spinach
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 bunch scallions (green onions) finely chopped
6oz crumbled feta cheese
5oz part skim ricotta cheese
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 egg
12 sheets filo dough
2 tbs melted butter

Steps
1.  In a pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil and steam the spinach for 4-5 minutes
2. Drain spinach and squeeze out any excess water
3. In a deep pan, combine onions, scallions, and extra virgin olive oil and cook on medium heat until onions are translucent
4. Add spinach and remaining ingredients to the pan and take off the heat after stirring enough to completely mix ingredients together
5. Bring out filo dough from freezer and CAREFULLY place on a flat surface (filo dough is extremely fragile and can tear very easily)
6. Slit a few lines into the filo dough creating 3 slices of filo dough
7. Be sure to use 3 layers of dough for each spanakopita
8. Use a kitchen brush to spread a small amount of melted butter over the dough

9. Use a small spoon to scoop out a small amount of filling and place it near the corner an edge.  Fold over the corner and continue folding (pretend you're folding a paper football you used to flick into a little goal in class)

My hands were too messy to take a picture of the process. ^Compliments of Google.

 10. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes
Serve hot and enjoy!!

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