Guest Author - Liz Stevenson
Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)
Ever since I was little, I have loved spinach. I am not sure why, most kids won’t even go near it (or any other vegetable for that matter) with a 10 foot pole. With its high nutritional content and easy preparation, spinach is a great leafy vegetable to include in any meal. I had never had spinach pie until last year. The deli near my work has sandwiches, and for about 3 years straight I ordered the same turkey sandwich without fail. Then one day, I realized that I needed to expand my horizons. I headed for the buffet bar and put something on my plate that resembled pie- it was made of dough and some kind of green vegetable. That day I found that the little Asian deli actually made great spanakopita: fresh flaky dough, and moist spinach filling with a home-style taste. Delicious and easy to make, here is a recipe you can try at home. But I warn you, you may start to love spinach.
2 eggs beaten
1 package phyllo dough (thawed)
1 package feta cheese (plain only)
½ cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon for prep
Freshly ground black pepper
1 sticks unsalted butter
2 tablespoons garlic (more or less, depending on how you feel about garlic, but I LOVE it)
2 bags of fresh spinach (rinse and drain)
Cook spinach in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Stir the spinach about 3 minutes or until wilted. Remove and chop on a cutting board after squeezing out excess liquid with paper towels. Add garlic, salt and pepper and then return to pan, sautéing for a few more minutes over low heat. Add remaining olive oil and stir well. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat baking sheet with a mixture of olive oil and butter. Put first sheet of phyllo dough and brush with melted butter. Make sure edges are pressed into the pan. This prepares the pie for the filling. Take the spinach mixture that was set aside earlier and add in feta cheese and beaten egg. Return to pan and layer 3 pieces of phyllo dough on prepared pan. Spoon spinach mixture on top and spread evenly. Add 3 more piece of phyllo, pinch the edges, and brush the top with more melted butter. Bake in the 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes, before cutting into squares.