I have told a few stories on here about my wonderful memories growing up with a job at the farmer's market. These spanakopita (or spinach pies, as we called them) also bring me back to my Saturday mornings at the market. There probably aren't spinach pies at every farmer's market, but they were (and still are) a staple at mine. Next to the woman yelling "egg row, egg row". Across from the ridiculously good fresh sliced bread (with the best butter ever). On the diag from Frenchie, who for some reason only sold really small produce items, like herbs. And had a fragrant body odor.
So many wonderful things. And these spinach pies always hit the spot. I have learned since that spanakopita is often served as a snack in Greece too. The farmer's market in Omaha, NE knows what's up. They were also always served room temperature, which is actually quite tasty. I probably prefer them served warm, but they are surprisingly good at room temperature. I also added some dill to mine, because we have enough dill to last us until 2012. Anyone need some dill? Or any other herb? Tarragon, sage, oregano, or thyme. Our dill hits the roof, we cut it down, and in a week, it hits the roof again. Anyways, I liked the addition of dill. I also sometimes didn't. Depended on the day and how many high fives I had given on that particular day. Actually I think I was mostly indifferent to the dill.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and minced
12 ounces (325g) fresh spinach, well-washed and towel dried
salt and freshly-ground pepper
8-10 ounces (230-250g) feta cheese
2 tablespoons finely-chopped flat leaf parsley
pinch of freshly-grated nutmeg
1 large egg, at room temperature
16 sheets filo dough (about 12 ounces, 350g), thawed, if frozen
Melted butter (2-3 ounces, 60-90g)
Heat oil in a large saucepan or skillet. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent.
Add the spinach and a bit of salt and pepper, cover, and cook until the spinach is completely wilted, stirring once or twice to hasten the process.
Scrape the spinach into a colander and let cool completely. Once cool, firmly squeeze out the excess liquid then chop the spinach with a chef’s knife into smallish pieces.
Mix the spinach in a small bowl with the feta and parsley until chunky. Taste, and add nutmeg and a squirt of lemon juice, plus more salt and pepper if desired. Stir in the egg.
Unwrap and unroll the filo and keep it covered at all times with a damp tea towel. Working quickly lay one sheet of filo on the counter and brush it lightly, but thoroughly, with butter. Lay another sheet on top of it and brush it with butter as well.
Set a scant 1/4 cup (50g) of the filling in the center, about 1-inch (3cm) from the edge of the sheets of filo, then roll the two edges of the dough over, lengthwise, to encase the filling. You should have a long rectangle with filling underneath the top far end.
Brush the exposed surface of the filo with butter and fold one corner diagonally over the filling, then continue folding keeping the triangle shape (as you’d fold a flag) and brushing the exposed surfaces of the filo with butter, until you have a neat triangle. Brush the top with butter and set on a baking sheet in the freezer.
Continue making more spanakopitas with the remaining filling. Once all the spanakopitas are frozen, store them in a freezer bag until ready to bake. If well wrapped, they’ll keep for a couple of months.
To bake the frozen spanakopita, preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and put the frozen triangles on a baking sheet, then brush each with butter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until deeply-golden brown. If you’re baking them without freezing them first, they’ll take less time to bake, so check them before the recommended baking time.
(Servings: 8, Prep time: 1 hr., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Intermediate)
Shanon (taste): 9/10
Scot (taste): 8/10
Dishwashing Effort: 3/5