Creamy, cheesy, savory spinach wrapped in flakey filo triangles. Easy and lots of fun to make.
Filling: thaw and drain spinach, making sure to squeeze water out with your hands till dry. Sauté onion in oil till soft and translucent. Add spinach, stirring to break up clumps and coat with oil. Remove from heat and cool. Add remaining filling ingredients, mixing throroughly.
Filo Dough: place 1 filo sheet horizontally on a counter and brush lightly with melted butter. Place a second sheet on top and brush it. With the two sheets stacked together, use a sharp knife to cut them the short way, into 5 strips (2 1/2 or 2 3/4" wide). Be sure to cover the remaining dough with plastic wrap or slightly damp towel to keep it from drying out.
Assembly: Now you're going to fold a flag—remember from Scouts? First, though, preheat oven to 350.
Now for the flag: place 1 tsp. filling on a strip, 1" from bottom. Fold bottom right-hand corner diagonally, to meet left-hand edge, making a triangle. Then fold straight upward, against the triangle’s top horizontal edge. Fold diagonally again. This time fold the lower-left corner to meet right edge. Then fold straight up, again, and so on—just like a flag. Use a drop of water on your finger to paste down the final flap.*
Place filled triangle on a greased cookie sheet and brush with butter. Make all 30 spanikopitas, place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes till golden. Serve warm.
* At this point, you can freeze the triangles. When you’re ready to cook, brush them with the butter and place them, still frozen, into the oven for about 40-45 minutes, till golden.
Tips & Glossary
You may not have a number of ingredients used in Greek cooking in your spice shelf, but you can find them at Mid-Eastern food stores. So to avoid frustration, make a list of the items you need before trying out the recipes.
Filo: aka phyllo, paper-thin sheets of raw, unleavened flour dough. Purchase frozen in most grocery stores and follow directions on package for thawing. When working with a sheet, keep others covered with a damp towel to prevent drying out.
Grape Leaves: Grape leaves are sold canned in salted oil. Rinse off the salt before using. If you want, prepare your own: find fresh, tender young leaves and plunge them for 1 minute into boiling water (with 1 or 2 T lemon juice). Then proceed with recipe. After blanching, you can freeze them for later use. Here’s how: blanch as above, dunk in iced water, pat dry with towels, and seal in an air-tight plastic bag. They're safe for 6 months, but use quickly when thawed.
Nutmeg: Use small whole nuts and store them, tightly covered, in a dry dark area. Grate what you need using the smallest grating edge or grind in a food processor. What a difference from store bought nutmeg!
Pine Nuts: edible seeds of pine trees used in many Greek dishes. Before cooking, release flavor by lightly browning in a heated skillet
Skewers: Use metal or wooden skewers for kebobs. If wooden, soak 30 minutes before using to prevent them from catching on fire.
Rosewater: distilled from rose petals and used to flavor Mid-Eastern and Asian cooking. You can make your own. But, seriously, why would you? Purchase it at Asian or Mid-Eastern stores.
Semolina: aka farina or Cream of Wheat; a coarsely ground wheat grain. You also know it as couscous. If made from durum wheat, it is used to make pasta.
Tarama: poor-man's caviar. From carp roe, it is pinkish-orange and is what (along with food dye) gives taramasalata its lovely color. Buy it jarred in Mid-Eastern food stores.
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