Monday, September 7, 2009

Spanokopitas

I've never worked with phyllo dough before until this dish. The phyllo sheets are VERY delicate, and tears easily- thus, it's important to take your time and handle with care. The prep work took a long time (45 minutes), so make sure to allow enough time. Ina recommends adding breadcrumbs in between the filling layers, but we omitted this and they still turned out flaky and fantastic. The end result was a flaky, buttery, yet light exterior and a rich, meaty filling. The flavors actually tasted better when allowed to rest after baking.




Next time, I will try adding less dill (loosely, don't pack it into the Tablespoon), more garlic, and add some grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese. (This recipe sounds great too.) This can easily be adapted to add ground lamb for a main entree paired with a light salad. The phyllo dough needs to thaw overnight in the fridge, and 2 hours prior to use, take it out of the fridge and let it reach room temperature for easier handling. We didn't have enough filling to use the entire box of phyllo- so we improvised and made Nutella Spanokopitas- PHENOMENAL! Opa!

Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil
1 bunch chopped scallions, white and green parts
2 (10-ounce) boxes frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten (Used 4 large eggs)
7-oz feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
40 sheets (1 box, 1-lb) frozen phyllo dough, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs (Omitted)
Sea salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Brush baking pan with oil.
2. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan and add the scallions. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
3. Meanwhile, squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a bowl.
4. Add the scallions, dill, eggs, feta, salt, and pepper and mix together.
5. Keep the phyllo dough sheets covered with a damp kitchen towel.
6. Unfold 1 sheet of the phyllo dough. Working quickly, brush the sheet with melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Repeat the process by laying a second sheet of phyllo dough over the first sheet, brush it with melted butter and sprinkle with breadcrumbs until 4 sheets have been stacked.
7. Cut the stack of phyllo sheets in half length-wise (using a pizza cutter is very handy).
8. Place 1/4 cup of the spinach filling on the shorter end, and roll the phyllo up diagonally, as if folding up a flag (See folding diagram here). Place it on the oiled baking sheet, seam-side down. The closing edge should stick to seal the triangle; if it doesn't, just apply a little of the melted butter to the edge and seal it up.
9. Continue assembling phyllo layers/triangles until all the filling has been used up.
10. Brush the tops with melted butter, sprinkle with sea salt.
11. Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Serve warm.




Source: Adapted from Ina Garten, Folding diagram & instructions by Kyra Katina and Annie’s Eats

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