Monday, August 6, 2012

Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)

Serve as a main dish, or it’s easy to take on a summer picnic. It is decadent and healthy at the same time. We load ours with extra spinach, spices and three different types of cheese, which adds flavor and great texture. The filo encases it with a light flakiness that complements the spinach interior perfectly. This dish is not as difficult as it looks to cook and is so worth the effort!
Spinach filling:
  • 2 ½ cups (packed) frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 6 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon basil, dried
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano flakes
  • ¼ cup olive oil, for spinach mixture
Filo crust:
  • 9 sheets filo (13”x 18” size)
  • Olive oil for brushing
1. Defrost filo in fridge overnight. Remove from box and lay flat. Cut in half horizontally. In an 8”x8” pan, lay down one sheet in pan and brush with oil. Lay second sheet in the opposite direction and brush with oil. Repeat until you have used 9 half sheets.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Squeeze excess water out of spinach. (You can use a clean kitchen towel for this by placing a handful of spinach in the towel, gather the four corners together and then twist the bottom where the spinach is to release the water.)
4. Sauté onion in ¼ cup of olive oil in frying pan. Cook until tender. Add spinach, seasonings and lemon juice and continue to cook on medium low heat until spinach is loosened up and combined with onions about 10 minutes. Cool slightly, so the spinach won’t cook the eggs.
5. In a bowl or a mixer, combine eggs, cheeses, flour and spinach mixture. Mix well.
6. Transfer spinach mixture to filo pan. Spread evenly.
7. Repeat filo brushing like (same as in Step 1) but now on top of the spinach mixture. Once you have completed brushing the remaining 9 sheets, use kitchen scissors to cut excess dough that is hanging from the edge of the pan.
8. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, uncovered, until filo puffs up and browns.
9. Take it out of the oven and marvel at your creation – looks very fancy in the pan! Allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes, and then cut in pieces and serve.
Serves: 6
Total cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes

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