Spinach Pie/Spanikópita

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Spinach Pie/Spanikópita
Spanikópita, or spinach pie, is one of the most famous Greek dishes. It is made with phyllo pastry, which is paper-thin dough sold either fresh or frozen. See page 22 for tips on handling this delicious dough. Spanikópita can be served hot as a main or side dish, or cold as a snack or appetizer.

Ingredients

        2 lb. fresh spinach (or 2 10-oz. packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed)
        ¼ c. olive oil; ½ c. chopped scallions
        ¼ c. finely chopped fresh parsley
        2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill, or 1 tbsp. dried dill weed
        4 eggs, lightly beaten
        1 c. (about 6 oz.) finely crumbled feta cheese
        ½ tsp. salt; ¼ tsp. pepper
        dash of nutmeg
        ¾ c. (1½ sticks) butter*, melted
        ½ lb. (about 14 sheets) phyllo pastry, thawed.

*For a meal that is lower in saturated fat, try substituting some olive oil for the butter.

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.


2. Remove large, tough stems from spinach leaves. Wash spinach leaves in cold water to remove all dirt and sand. Using your hands, squeeze water from spinach and dry on paper towels.

3. Chop spinach into ¼-inch pieces. (If using frozen spinach, place thawed spinach in a colander and squeeze out excess moisture by pressing spinach with the back of a large spoon.)

4. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add scallions and cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Add spinach and cook 3 more minutes.

5. Remove pan from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

6. Stir in parsley, dill, eggs, feta cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and set aside.

7. Butter a 9 13-inch baking pan. Place 1 sheet of phyllo pastry in pan. Brush sheet well with melted butter, then put another sheet on top of it. Continue adding sheets, brushing each one with butter, until there are a total of 7 sheets.

8. Spread spinach filling evenly over phyllo. Trim off dried edges of phyllo with scissors or sharp knife. Then fold excess phyllo over the filling.

9. Place 7 sheets of phyllo pastry over the spinach, one at a time, brushing each sheet well with melted butter before adding the next.

10. Trim off excess phyllo with a pair of scissors or a sharp knife. Brush top of pie with melted butter.

11. Place pan on middle oven rack and bake 40 minutes or until crust is golden. Cool 5 minutes before cutting into squares.

Food: Spinach Pie/Spanikópita

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