I am really starting to love Greek food. It’s kind of like Mexican cuisine in that there are about 8 ingredients you see over and over and over and over again which has the potential to be boring, but…one of those ingredients is FETA! And another is BUTTER! So yeah, Greek food’s where it’s at.
Generally appetizers work best when they’re individually contained, I find, like a bruschetta or a meatball or something. There are few things more likely to make a mess and give everyone strep throat than a big bowl o’ communal dip. And sometimes people give me the side-eye for including bacon in everything I make so, you know, I figured something with spinach would go a long way to mending some healthy-eating fences.
These little guys take about a half-hour to prep but they’re not hard to make. And you can put anything in them, really! One time I was out of feta so I used extra Parmesan and sundried tomatoes instead. Just serve them within an hour or two or they’ll get soggy. No one likes a soggy spanakopita.
Makes about 20-24 triangles
1 lb. frozen spinach, thawed
1 box phyllo dough, thawed (NOT puff pastry)
1/2 onion, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
8 tbsp. butter
salt and pepper
***optional: red pepper flakes, sundried tomatoes
1. Heat about 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and saute until starting to brown and become translucent. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two until slightly browned then remove it all from the heat to cool. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Put the frozen spinach in a mesh strainer and squish all the extra moisture out of it (or wring it out inside a dish towel, but ew.) In a large bowl combine the spinach, feta, Parmesan, eggs, and salt and pepper. Add the cooked onions and garlic and mix until well combined. If it seems too dry and crumbly add another egg – too wet to stick together, add some breadcrumbs. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a bowl and get your pastry brush handy.
3. Unwrap the phyllo dough and separate one sheet – be careful, it’s very thin! Place the sheet on a flat surface then use the pastry brush to dab butter all over it – use as much butter as you like but don’t skimp or everything will be terribly dry. Add another sheet of phyllo dough to the second and repeat the process until you have three sheets of buttered, layered phyllo dough stacked. Use a knife to cut the dough into three long strips.
***I like to do two stacks at once to make things quicker. You have to work relatively fast with the dough, though, or it will get so dry and brittle it will break on you. You may read that you need to cover the phyllo with a wet towel while working with it, blah blah blah, but that’s a lot of trouble and not really worth it unless you plan on taking two hours to make these guys.
4. Place about a tablespoon of the spinach mixture at the bottom of each phyllo strip. Starting with the first strip, fold the corner of the dough across, like you’re folding a napkin, then keep turning it over corner by corner until you reach the top and you’ve got a nice little envelope of spinach. The spinach filling should be completely sealed in by the dough if you fold correctly. Repeat the process with each strip and don’t worry, it’ll get messy! As long as you’ve got a sealed triangle at the end of the process, you’re good.
5. After you’ve made all your triangles, use the remaining butter to brush the tops of the spanakopita on the baking sheets and sprinkle a little pepper on top, if desired. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-22 minutes or until really golden brown and crispy. No need to turn them over, but you may want to rotate your baking sheets halfway.
Now nom nom nom some Greek food and pat yourself on the back for being so worldly.