While I generally enjoy “Mediterranean” food, Greek has never been a particular favorite of mine. Too many olives (and not always vegetarian-friendly). The Greek food I like the most though, I REALLY like: spanikopita. My ex-boyfriend Sean introduced me to the spinach and cheese filled deliciousness, and I’ve loved them ever since. I’ve been wary of trying to make them, because I’ve heard phyllo dough can be really hard to work with, but when I found this recipe I decided to give it a shot.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds spinach, rinsed, chopped (squeeze out any excess liquid)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
8 sheets phyllo dough
1/4 cup olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil a 11×9 inch baking pan or a 9×9 inch square baking pan.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, green onions and garlic, until soft and lightly browned. Stir in spinach, and continue to saute until spinach is limp, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, ricotta, and feta. Stir in spinach mixture. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in prepared baking pan, and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top, brush with olive oil, and repeat process with two more sheets of phyllo. The sheets will overlap the pan. Spread spinach and cheese mixture into pan and fold overhanging dough over filling. Brush with oil, then layer remaining 4 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with oil. Tuck overhanging dough into pan to seal filling.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot.
So, the rumors were true: I cursed loudly several times as I tried to pick up a piece of phyllo dough only to have it tear at anything other than the most delicate touch, or if the weight wasn’t perfectly balanced. I omitted the parsley originally called for because I had a hard time finding it fresh and didn’t think I would miss it (I didn’t). It came out pretty well with a few caveats: I feel like there was a little too much dough on the top half…if I made this again, I’d probably do five sheets on the bottom and only three on the top. Also, two pounds of spinach seemed like a LOT of spinach, so I bought only a pound. Mistake. Definitely get two pounds. But even with less than ideal amounts of spinach, this tasted just like it should. It was spinachy and cheesy and savory. Don’t make this on a day when you’re in a bad mood, because you’ll want to throw the stupid dough at the wall…patience is a virtue with phyllo dough. But if you’re less concerned with looks and more concerned with taste, this is for you!