Fresh Spanakopita

I’ve revisited my recipe for spanakopita and made some changes to the ingredients and method.  I love the use of fresh spinach and the copious amounts of butter just make these ridiculously flaky.  I make these ahead of time and freeze them so that I have them ready to go when we’re entertaining – especially during the holiday season.  Everyone likes a good spanakopita – it’s worth the extra effort.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups packed spinach leaves
  • 1 lb. fillo dough (16-20 sheets or double, depending on the width of your package), defrosted
  • 1/2 lb. feta cheese
  • 1/2 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Approximately 2 sticks of butter, melted

HOW TO MAKE IT

  • Rinse your spinach leaves and remove and large stems – dry it thoroughly and then roughly chop it
  • Add the chopped garlic, and scallions to the food processor and process until finely chopped
  • Add the chopped spinach to the garlic and scallions and process until the spinach is finely chopped – about 10 seconds
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the feta – pulse the mixture 3-5 times for 1 second until everything is well incorporated
  • Process the ingredients for about 5 seconds and then pulse the mixture 3 times for 1 second to make sure everything is well combined
  • Repeat this process for the other half of the ingredients
  • Pour the spinach mixture into a large bowl and add in the olive oil, salt and pepper – taste the mixture to make sure it’s seasoned properly and then add in the beaten egg and totally incorporate it into the mix
    • Set the mixture aside
    • When I’m ready to start making my triangles, I put the spinach mixture in a fine mesh sieve over a bowl to catch any extra water that the spinach might release
  • Take your defrosted fillo dough out and unfold it onto a working surface (keep the stack of dough covered with a slightly damp – but not wet! – dishtowel to prevent it from becoming dry and brittle)
  • Depending on the dimensions of your sheet, you may need to cut them in half so your sheet has a width of about 7.5 in.
  • Take a sheet with the 7.5 in. width and brush it generously with butter
  • Then, fold the sheet over into thirds so you’re left with a long strip that’s only 2.5 in. wide – then brush that strip with butter
  • Place a little less than1 tbsp of spinach mixture at the end of your fillo strip and roll it up into triangles, like a paper football – or American flag (if you’re like my mom you’ll brush the top of the triangle with a little more butter to make it extra crunchy)
  • If your dough seems dry and needs help sticking, brush it with additional butter
  • Place the triangle pieces onto a greased or parchment paper lined baking pan
  • Bake at 350°F for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
    • Makes approximately 32 – 40 pieces
Variation…
    • Layer 10 sheets of fillo dough, brushing butter in between each sheet
    • Spoon about 1 cup of the spinach mixture along one edge of the fillo dough in the shape of a sausage
    • Roll up the fillo dough and brush the top with butter
    • Score the roll into 1 in. rounds
    • Repeat until all of the fillo and spinach is used
    • Place the roll on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400°F for approximately 12 minutes or until golden brown