Monday, March 3, 2008

Dinner Spanakopitas by Barefoot Contessa

These are fabulous! The recipe is originally for spanakpita appetizers but Ina changed it to a dinner recipe. The filling is rich so I suggest making these as appetizers (meaning 1/2 as big so there's not so much filling to bite into). I made these and baked a few that day and then baked the rest the next day. They seemed to be twice as good the 2nd day. Maybe because all the flavors infused together overnight or something. Anyway, since then I can't stop thinking about them and think they are a spectacular appetizer. Layers and layers of crispy, buttery phyllo dough... yum! Tip: you must keep the phyllo dough damp or it will dry out FAST (cover it with a damp paper towel)!


¼ cup good olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Plain dry breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons kosher salt1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups small-diced feta cheese (12 ounces)
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
16 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted (about 8 ounces)
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Shaved sea salt and ground pepper for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add the onions, and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the scallions, and cook them for another 2 minutes until the scallions are wilted but still green. Meanwhile, gently squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl.
3. When the onions and scallions are done, add them to the spinach. Mix in the beaten eggs, Parmesan, 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Gently fold in the feta and pine nuts.
4. Place one sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface, placing the long end in front of you. Brush the dough lightly with butter and sprinkle it with a teaspoon of breadcrumbs. Working quickly, slide another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, brush it with butter and sprinkle lightly with breadcrumbs. (Use just enough breadcrumbs so the layers of phyllo don't stick together.) Pile 4 layers total on top of each other this way, brushing each with butter and sprinkling with breadcrumbs. Cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. Place ⅓ cup spinach filling on the end and roll the phyllo up diagonally (see left). Then fold the phyllo over straight and then diagonally again, enclosing the filling. Continue rolling diagonally and straight until you reach the end of the phyllo. The filling should be totally enclosed. Continue assembling phyllo layers and rolling the filling until the filling is gone.
5. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked sea salt and ground pepper, and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.