Thursday, July 17, 2008

Spanakopita

Spanakopita is a greek dish where a spinach & feta cheese mixture is stuffed inside or layered with phyllo dough. Though I have always wanted to taste this, I never got an opportunity to do so... but I tasted this Garlic Spinaci Pizza which had some garlicky spinach and feta cheese toppings and absolutely loved it, so I figured that I would definitely like the taste of spanakopita and decided to make it at home.

I've worked with Phyllo (or Filo) sheets before when making Baklava and they are quite easy to work with as long as some precautions are taken... These are extremely thin sheets and can very easily tear, dry up or turn brittle, but when covered with a damp towel and worked with quickly, one sheet at a time, they are quite flexible and easy to handle. What is good about these sheets are that they turn nice and crisp when baked and have very little fat in them and so are definitely a healthier option to puff pastry. The textures are different so they can't always be interchanged but some recipes work well with either of them.

My filling is not very traditional because I added some garlic, red chilli flakes and used a tomato-basil Feta but it was tasty nevertheless. These can also be made ahead, frozen and cooked when it's time to serve.

SPANAKOPITAS

Ingredients:

Phyllo sheets - about 10 to 15
Spinach (frozen) - 10 oz package, thawed and drained

Feta cheese crumbles - 4 oz pack

Onion - 1, chopped finely
Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped
All purpose flour - 1 tbsp
Eggs - 2 (I used about 1/3 cup Egg Beaters)
Red Chilli flakes - 1 tsp or to taste
Salt & Pepper - to taste
Olive oil - 2 tsp
Butter - 3 to 4 tbsp, melted

Method:
1) In a saucepan, heat oil and add the onions and garlic, when softened and edges are beginning to brown, add red chilli flakes and spinach .

2) Cook this with a bit of salt along with the tbsp of flour until the mixture is quite dry. Add some pepper to taste. Go easy on the salt because feta cheese is quite salty.

3) Transfer this to a bowl and add the egg and feta cheese and mix well. This is our stuffing.

4) Thaw the Phyllo sheets according to package directions and when ready, cover them with a damp (not wet) towel so they don't dry out.


5) Take a sheet of phyllo (keep the rest still covered) and brush lightly with melted butter and lay another sheet of phyllo on top. Brush the top with a bit of butter as well and cut it into 3 long strips.

6) Place about a tbsp of the filling at the bottom half of each strip in one corner and fold to form a triangle. Keep folding them over, alternating sides moving up the strip as you do so. The butter brushed on top will help seal it.

7) Repeat this for the remaining filling. Place the spanakopitas on a large baking sheet and brush tops with remaining melted butter.

8) Bake this in a pre-heated oven at 350F for about 45 minutes or till done, turning over once if the bottoms get too brown.

37 comments:

  1. Laavanya-

    Yummy spanokopita, I always order this when we goto a Greek restaurant. Thnaks for sharing.

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  2. yum!! i love this one...but have stopped ordering it eversince i gave up eggs...gotta make this at home sans eggs :D...u have been on a cooking roll re laav!!

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  3. I love spanakopita, looks perfect :) Delicious one :)

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  4. Maybe it's not traditional, but it looks and sounds SOOOOOO good!!!

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  5. Yummmy...I love Spanakopitas too! I made some only a couple of weeks ago, check my blog for my version :)

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  6. These look super perfect! Great you made them at home...I never ventured on that.. Thanks to Sams club - I just buy them.. Lazy me right???

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  7. These look super perfect! Great you made them at home...I never ventured on that.. Thanks to Sams club - I just buy them.. Lazy me right???

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  8. Never made at home Lavanya...looks delicious..U have to lot of recipes that inspires to try out.

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  9. I had Spanakopitas long back and loved them, yours looks fantastic!

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  10. never heard of this but glad u brought it up cuz they look yummy!

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  11. Very differnt recipe Laavanya! Looks perfect and delicious :) I have heard about them, but never tasted so far. Your recipe sounds simple, will try soon..

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  12. Nice spanakopitas......perfect triangles

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  13. perfec spanakopitas and looks tempting.

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  14. One famous cuisine that's not yet come into India in a major way is Greek, I think. I'm waiting for some restaurant to open. We get a Greek salad here where they substitute the cheese with paneer!

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  15. Yum! I absolutely love 'em :-)

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  16. they look like indian samosas and so beautiful... must taste yum, combo of spinach and cheese is perfect!

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  17. spanakopita looks just perfect .. really yummy

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  18. Spanakopita sounds delicious and yummy....Its new for me.....Thanks for sharing....

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  19. spanakopitas look simply delicious..i am yet to work with phyllo sheets...love the crunch they give to every bite ...

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  20. oh perfect, laavs!! i've heard of this dish before, and i think i hav eeven tasted it once. I definitely would love it!!! :-)Thanks for sharing, bookmarked!

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  21. there's something so addicive @ the filo & puff pastry kinds ;) butter, i guess! looks so good:)

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  22. Ohh lovely.. never dared to make this one though!

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  23. I've never had S but have been wanting to make it since I saw Bhags' recipe. The only time I've worked with phyllo sheets was when I made baklavas.
    Nice healthy appetizer! :)

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  24. have you tried bulgarian or french feta? it's not as funky as the greek one. i prefer those. ricotta salata is textured like feta, but milder. i'll probably try this with that cheese.

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  25. Thanks Mitr. I've not tasted this outside... yet.

    Rajitha, Am sure it would work w/o eggs. I don't expect to see much difference in the taste w/o the eggs.. probably the texture of the filling.. but only very slightly.

    Thank you Cham and Meeso.

    Namratha - i did see your version :) Looks great!

    Seema, that's not lazy... I just wanted to try at home so I could add a bit more spice and stuff.

    Thank you Kamala, delhibelle & Nags.

    Sujatha, thanks - hope you get to try it out.

    Thank you Bhags.. the first 2 didn't come out that good but after that I seemed to get the hang of the folding... :)

    Thank you Andhraflavors.

    Sra, I still haven't been to a fully Greek restaurant yet.. though there are quite a few here...

    Thank you Rachel, Sunita, Shreya, vegetable platter, Sireesha & notyet100.

    Ranji, yes they are so crisp and light.

    Thanks JZ. Let me know when you try out.

    Richa, oh yes - definitely the butter... :) but atleast with phyllo you can control the amt of butter going in.

    Thank you Kalva.

    TBC... sure it is.. but we had ours with soup for a Fri dinner... :) You should try it.. but the folding into triangles was a bit of pain initially.

    Bee.. no I haven't tried those. Will look for them next time.

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  26. WOW this looks mouthwatering, very nice recipe Laavanya !!!

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  27. Love the changes you made Laav, garlic and chili flakes will perk up any dish... :)

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  28. Wow, love the name! what a delicious creation Lavanya! Looks so mouth-watering.

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  29. One of my favorite Greek treats. I've never made my own. Yours look just perfect.

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  30. looks delicious..nice recipe

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  31. Spanokopita looks lovely! I have some phyllo in my freezer, will have to try this soon. I love Feta too, so a good combination, but dont like spinach... can I add any other leafy veggie?

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  32. Hey I visited a relative last weekend and she had used these sheets to make such delightful savory spanakopitas ...
    I am in the US and would like to know where would I get them, she suggested Safeway ! but I couldnt find them... :( :(
    For people who do not eat eggs - My relative suggested an idea, she said that you could brush these with milk to get the lovely golden brown

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  33. Hi Sameera, I bought these at Giant. Look for these near the puff pastry sheets (in the freezer section). Athens is the more popular brand.. Yes you could brush with milk.. I brushed the tops with the remaining melted butter lightly ... didn't use eggs. The egg goes into the filling.

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  34. Hey Lavanya,a slight request..can u make ur profile accessible ?
    Its difficult for me(and im sure many others) to keep locating your blog !I usually do that from someone's profile...
    Thanks so muuuch in advance :)
    Bet Rgds
    Sam !

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  35. Hey, never heard of this. looks scrumptuous. will definitely try.

    do visit my cookery blog too

    http://thefootloosechef.blogspot.com/
    dershana

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