One bite of spanakopita from a little bakery in Santorini 4 years ago and we fell in love. Spinach and feta make a delicious savory filling, sandwiched between sheets of buttery phyllo dough (or if your store is out of it, as ours was, puff pastry makes a good substitute). We tried making spanakopita once in Japan, but the filling turned out a tad bland. This time we used the same recipe as a guide, but added some minced garlic and some extra salt & pepper. When cut into small squares, spanakopita makes the perfect appetizer since you can serve it either hot or at room temp.
(Adapted from the recipe in Modern Greek by Andy Harris)
10 oz. frozen spinach (or a little less than a pound of fresh spinach)
3 green onions, including green stems, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1 egg, beaten
freshly ground back pepper
1 TBS olive oil
1 package of frozen puff pastry (containing 2 sheets), defrosted according to package instructions
melted butter (about 2-3 TBS)
- Defrost the spinach in the microwave according to directions. If using fresh spinach, blanch in boiling water. Drain spinach thoroughly by placing in a kitchen towel and squeezing until no more liquid comes out. Roughly chop spinach. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
- Add the green onion, garlic, feta, egg, salt & pepper, and olive oil to the bowl with the spinach. Mix well.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a baking dish that is roughly the same size as your puff pastry. Place one sheet of puff pastry in the bottom of the dish (it’s ok if some of the pastry drapes over the edge of the baking dish; just fold over and pinch like a pie crust). Brush with melted butter. Add the filling and spread evenly. Place the remaining puff pastry sheet on top. Brush with melted butter. Pinch the edges of the two sheets together.
- Sprinkle a little water on top to prevent pastry from burning. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top is golden brown. Slice into squares. Serve either hot or cold. Serves 3-4.