…I’m Popeye the sailor man! Toot toot! Please excuse the lame title/nod to the late 1920s and continue reading….
Big City Little Kitchen was invited to a pot-luck/Olympic appreciation dinner last night. We were instructed to “contribute an elegant, savory hors d’oeuvre or appetizer that can be served cold, at room temperature, or just heated up. Please . . . no chips, salsa, hummus, Entenmann’s, KFC, or other nonsense. ‘Minnie don’t burn chicken, and Pete doesn’t do snacks & fast food!’ Much appreciated.”
Anyhoo, we decided to go for spanakopita. Traditionally, this is Greek spinach pie consisting of feta cheese and phyllo dough. To simplify the recipe and use what we have, we made use of the leftover puff pastry in our freezer. It resulted in warm, flaky pockets of perfection filled with creamy feta cheese and enough spinach to inflate Pop-Eye’s biceps and get the girl. (Olive Oil, was it?)
What You’ll Need (12 pieces):
- 1 large or 2 small shallots. You can substitute 1/2 a small onion, but shallots are much sweeter and more flavorful.
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 package of chopped frozen spinach. About 8-10 oz. Defrosted.
- 1-2 cups of crumbled feta cheese. You can substitute any cheese here, but feta is traditional and delicious.
- 1 package of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets. Defrosted.
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper
- oil (olive, canola, or vegetable)
- non-stick spray.
- large baking sheet
- small frying pan
- mixing bowl
- rolling pin
- small spoon
- wooden spoon or spatula
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat up a little olive oil (1-2 tbsp is good) on low or med-low heat in a small frying pan. Finely dice shallots and garlic. The smaller the better. Toss them in the pan, and cook for 2 minutes or until soft and translucent. Put in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Drain the defrosted spinach. Try to get out as much liquid as possible. We suggest using a pasta strainer and pushing down with your hand to get the excess water out. You don’t want soggy spanakopitas, so this step is important! When its good to go, put it in the mixing bowl with the shallots and garlic and add the feta cheese.
Mix thoroughly. Personally, we like to get our hands dirty and squish it all around. Just make sure you wash your hands before (and after) you do this.
Make an egg wash: 1 egg whisked with a splash of water. Set aside.
Spray the cooking sheet with non-stick spray.
Flour the table lightly, so your dough doesn’t stick. Unfold the dough and use the scissors to cut the dough into strips. They are already folded nicely, so follow the perforated edge and then cut them in half so they are about 6″ long.
Roll the strips out to decrease thickness. Keep one end a little wider than the rest. Spoon the spinach mix onto the wider end, then fold the edges into create a triangle. Now, just keep folding as if it were a flag. (See: How to Fold a Flag. Skip to the 48 sec mark.)
Cut off any straggly bits, you don’t need them. Place onto the cooking sheet, and brush the tops with the egg wash.
Repeat, repeat, repeat! Then stick the cooking sheet into the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. We like to check on them at the 20 minute mark just in case.
Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!