spinach pie (spanakópita)

May 20, 2013 § 40 Comments

While traveling abroad I had the opportunity to learn a bit about Greek culture and become acquainted with traditional Greek cooking.  During this time I spent several weeks with family and friends in Athens as well as on a small island called Siphnos.  I learned Greek cooking to be simple, wholesome and solely based on fresh seasonal ingredients.  There is no place for canned or packaged foods in a Greek kitchen. My fondest memories are gatherings around tables in a quaint taverna savoring slow braised lamb, a freshly shredded cabbage salad, tzaziki, dolmades, and one of my favorite comfort foods gigandes plaki…giant white beans.  Potatoes were sliced and fried in olive oil right then and there if your ordered french fries.  I still have a clear image of a taverna owner walking out to the seashore, pulling in a net, collecting a fish and returning to his kitchen to cook it for me after I requested it from his menu.  Fresh, simple and organic. DSCN0481 Spanakopita was one of many dishes I learned to prepare from a very dear acquaintance while staying in her family’s home in Athens.  Not long after she rose out of bed she would begin cooking the meal of the day.  The aromas coming from her kitchen kept your appetite stimulated throughout the day.  Spanakópita is such a delightful side dish and quite easy once you get the hang of working with the fillo.  It is important to keep the fillo humid by lying it flat in between a clean, damp kitchen cloth, preventing it from drying out.  Purchase a good quality feta cheese.  If possible find a bright white sheep feta packed in brine. Most spanakópita recipes call for cooking the spinach filling prior to “filling” the pie.  I think the cooking time in the oven is sufficient. Ingredients

  • 2 large bunches of spinach, washed, dried and chopped
  • bunch of spring onions, chopped
  • handful of dill, chopped
  • small handful parsley, finely chopped
  • 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 package of fillo sheets
  • 1/2 cup butter melted (1 cube)

Method Preheat oven to 350°. If you are not using pre-washed packaged spinach, wash spinach very well and dry.  Cut off stems and chop.  Place in a large bowl and add chopped spring onion, chopped dill, feta and eggs.  Using your hands mix well until all ingredients are fully combined. Season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter and brush a little onto a 9 x 12 baking dish.  Open your fill0 package and lay them flat in between a clean damp cloth folded in half. Place two fill0 sheets on the bottom of your baking dish and brush with butter.  Make sure to keep your fillo sheets covered at all times to keep them from drying out. Continue placing two sheets at a time and brushing with melted butter until you have a good bottom base, approximately 10-12 sheets. Put your spinach filling in and continue layering fillo two sheets at a time and brushing with butter for another 12 sheets.  I create a little more dramatic top by folding the fillo as you would a fan and placing them on top to fully cover. Drizzle the remaining butter on top and place in over for approximately 30 minutes until the top is well browned. Serves 4-6 as a side dish buon appetite.

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§ 40 Responses to spinach pie (spanakópita)

  • Jittery Cook says:

    Looks wonderful. Doesn’t look too hard to put together. Love the look of the folded filo on top. It adds mystery.

  • nancyc says:

    I always order this when I’m at a Greek restaurant, so I need to try this out! :)

  • Darya says:

    I don’t think I have ever eaten Spanakopita, but I adore spinach, and I am sure I would love this. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  • Spanakopita is one of my all-time favourites and yours looks beautiful. Also love your description of Greece and it makes me want to travel there…

  • This is one of my favorite dishes, this is something you can eat at any time of the day. However, I have a really serious fillo trauma…so, I am not going to try this one… ;) :)
    I thought they probably recommend to cook the spinach first because of the potencial loss of liquid (from te spinach)? Love your ‘dramatic top’. So mediterranean :)

  • Greek food… I cook them, and I love them, even before I met my Greek husband. The best spanakopita I had was at a Greek family gathering -a senior of the family brought it- and was like yours. I have tried it in triangles several times, but I will try them in big dish next time.

    • Hi Fae. I love Greek food so much. I do like spanakopita in triangles too, it does present a little more work though. Hope you try it this way, you’ll see it is very easy and so delicious.

  • Oooh, a lot of favorites in this post! Greece is high on my travel destination list, and spanakópita is high on my “foods I want to try to make, but I am a little intimidated” list. Very inspiring!

  • I LOVE spanakopita, I always cooked the spinach filling but you are right, the baking time in the oven is sufficient. Your recipe is simple and looks so delicious.

  • ladyredspecs says:

    We love spanokpoita too and make it often. Melbourne has the largest Greek population outside Greece, so the delicious food is everywhere. Fortunately it has not strayed far from its roots.

  • Wow. I didn’t know that. It must be so nice to have a variety of delicious Greek food restaurants near. What a lovely culture. :)

  • Isobel says:

    Thank you for this…..it’s now 9:30pm and all I can think about is sinking my teeth into some hot spinach pie!

    • Isobel… I went to your blog and was truly moved by your photographs and especially the post for your mom. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment on the spanakópita recipe. :) Your little Poppy is absolutely adorable!

  • ChgoJohn says:

    I really do enjoy spanakópita. I was lucky enough to tour a few of the Greek Islands, where I learned each Island has its own spanakópita. Well, that’s all I needed to hear. I made sure to sample the spinach pies wherever we went. And I loved each one! I never made it to Siphnos, though, so I guess I’ll have to make your tasty spanakópita. Thanks for sharing!

    • I remember trying many variations too. I didn’t particularly care for the pies which were too oily and flat. However, if you can not go wrong with the combination of spinach and feta! :) Thank you for your comment! Aren’t the Greek Islands magnificent?

  • gotasté says:

    your picture is making my mouth water. Love the pie crust and the ingredients are awesome.

  • Yes yes yes, so much truth in this post! I only recently posted about a trip to Greece and stayed at the home of my close friend as well. Their attitudes about food are so inspiring. The late night taverna meals were definitely one of my most memorable moments, too. Whenever I miss the food, I fancy making spanakopita with all the in-season spring greens. Thanks for the reminder and the wonderful recipe :)

  • ohlidia says:

    I love spanakopita and your looks truly divine!! That golden phyllo crust, mmmm… I could just crunch into that right now if I could!

  • anne cater says:

    Do you know that one of my very first recipes in my “new” cute recipe binder (circa 1996) was “Seana’s spanokopita”?? I’d love to try it again : )

  • I have to admit my husband usually uses the frozen boxes of spinach, squeezing out the extra liquid (it was actually the form of spinach listed in the recipe in a Greek cookbook we have!). I will have to pass on this recipe to him so he can give the fresh spinach a try!

    • I know! I’ve have seen spanakópita recipes calling for frozen spinach too. I think your husband will find using fresh “dried off” fresh spinach to be really….really good. And he won’t have to squeeze out the liquid! I buy the packaged already washed spinach. Works great. :)

  • Karen says:

    Greek food party at your house? Is it anywhere near my hotel room where I sit and now crave your dish? :)

  • laurasmess says:

    I love spinach and feta. So delicious. Believe it or not, I’ve never actually tried spanakopita (though I’ve eaten many Western-style spinach and feta pies sold in bakeries over here) but that needs to change. Thanks for this lovely recipe! xx

    • I would love it if your made this because you would be so pleasantly surprised how easy it is to prepare and how delicious. This crispy fillo dough is light, a very nice pie for breakfast too.

  • I can imagine how wonderful your memories of Greece were. Gathering around food in a quaint taverna. I didn’t get to experience that from my travel in Italy since I had to cut my trip short. There is a cafe in Wellington where I first discovered Spanakópita. I would go there frequently just to order a piece of this lovely pie. They would serve it with yogurt but I would not have any of it. Spanakópita is wonderful by itself. At least for me!

  • Looks fabulously delicious!!

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