I realized long ago that even though I love spanakopita, I rarely make it because of the time it takes. Substituting frozen spinach for fresh cuts back on time, as does a more casual approach toward brushing butter on the phyllo sheets.
| ||3 || boxes (10 ounces each) frozen spinach, thawed |
| ||1 || onion, finely chopped |
| ||4 || Tbsp. olive oil |
| ||4 || eggs |
| ||8 || oz. feta cheese |
| ||5 || Tbsp. Parmesan cheese, grated |
| ||~ || Pinch of nutmeg |
| ||~ || Freshly ground black pepper |
| ||1 || tsp. freshly grated lemon zest (optional) |
| ||1 || box (1 lb.) frozen phyllo pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator |
| ||4 || Tbsp. melted butter combined with 4 Tbsp. olive oil |
- Drain the spinach of excess water by either pressing it firmly against the sides of a colander or squeezing it in your hands over a sink or bowl.
- In a large pan, sauté the onion over medium heat in the 4 tablespoons of oil, until the onion begins to soften and turn golden on the edges. Add the drained spinach and cook for several minutes, stirring often until any excess liquid has dissipated. Allow this mixture to cool.
- In a medium-large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add the feta cheese, crumbling it in with your fingers, then the Parmesan, spinach mixture, nutmeg, several turns of freshly ground pepper, and the lemon zest.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a large rectangular baking sheet with oil.
- Place half of the phyllo sheets on the baking sheet, then fold them in half like a book (keep the rest of the phyllo wrapped up to prevent it from drying out). Fold open the first “page” of the book, so that it is lying flat on the pan, and brush it with the melted-butter-and-olive-oil mixture. Brush all “left-page” sheets of pastry until you reach the center. Now, close “the book” by folding the right-hand phyllo over the left (butter-brushed sheets), and proceed, folding open the “right pages” of pastry and brushing each open sheet.
- Once the last page is folded open, brush the top with butter/oil, then top with the spinach filling, spreading evenly. Take the remaining half package of phyllo sheets and place on top of the filling. Continue brushing each sheet with the butter/oil, as described above, then brushing the top sheet as well. Tuck the edges under the pie. With a sharp knife, score the pie into squares or diamonds.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour, until the pastry is crisp and golden. Cut pie, following the score marks, and serve hot.
Culinate editor’s note: If you’ve got plenty of hardy greens in your garden — Swiss chard, beet greens, kale, and the like — wilt them down and use them in place of the spinach. (Fresh leafy herbs, such as oregano, parsley, and mint, add a bit of zip, too.) The resulting dish is basically hortopita, or greens pie.