Spanikopita? Yes, PleasePosted: April 9, 2012
As you read this, I will be spending my last moments in Spain, having had, I certainly anticipate as I write this, a wonderful time trying new foods and discovering a new culture. (Photos to come in a post when I’m back.) But before we headed to Spain for a visit with G, who is working there this year, we had a great visit with Rachel, Miss M and John, which was a perfect excuse to make a dish that I only make when I’m hosting a crowd but that I love love love: spanikopita.
I discovered phyllo dough about 35 (!) years ago when I took a cooking class with a friend. Emboldened by what we had learned, we decided to give this buttery wonderfulness a try and I am so glad I did. Yes, it’s a little dicey to work with but like most things, it’s not as hard as you imagine. The key is to completely thaw it and then to work quickly once you open the package.
recipe from Moosewood Cookbook
2 cups crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon basil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cottage cheese
2 pounds fresh spinach
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 pound phyllo dough, thoroughly defrosted
Steam the spinach. Drain well and chop.
Saute the onions in butter until translucent. Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl.
To assemble, melt 1/2 pound butter. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Using a pastry brush, spread melted butter in the bottom of a 9X13″ baking pan. Then place one layer in the bottom of the pan. Brush with melted butter, followed by a piece of phyllo. Continue doing this until you’ve have a pile of about 8-10 leaves. Then spread one third of the mix on top of the buttered phyllo dough. Follow that by buttering and layering another 8-10 leaves of phyllo dough. Place the rest of the mixture on top. Follow that with buttering the rest of the phyllo dough in sheets (Clearly this is not a low-cholesterol dish but really who cares?) Butter the top sheet with melted butter and sprinkle with a tablespoon of sesame seeds.
Bake uncovered about 45 minutes until golden brown. While leftovers are fine, phyllo dough loses some of its wonderful crispiness the day after so consider this an excuse to have seconds.