Tonawanda News

Features

February 11, 2013

YANKEE CHEF: Spanakopita a great, Greek classic

Tonawanda News — I adore Greek cuisine and I have a lifelong ambition to someday visit that great nation. The ancient culture has intrigued me since I was a child, the language has grabbed my attention ever since I learned the Greek alphabet as a teen and the food makes me want to fly there just to taste authentic spanakopita. 

But if I can’t jump on my jet (yet), at least I can give you a recipe for this dish that is both easy to prepare and delightful to enjoy.

I really shouldn’t even classify this dish as a meal because in Greece, it is mainly eaten as a snack, much like we enjoying chicken wings here in the United States. But I find that by adding a fresh, crisp salad and some crusty bread, it does satisfy, especially when you don’t want to feel bloated after a meal. (Remember Thanksgiving and Christmas, everyone?). 

For a great change of pace, you don’t have to stick with spinach. Cook up some other leafy greens such as sorrel, Swiss chard, turnip greens, beet greens, collard greens or kohlrabi. As for the cheese, I wouldn’t substitute anything for this fine Greek staple.

Crispy and smooth spanakopita

1 pound fresh spinach leaves

1/4 cup olive oil

1 small bunch green onions, chopped

3 tablespoons dried dill

Pinch ground nutmeg

Salt and black pepper to taste

1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 pound ricotta cheese

Nonstick cooking spray

1 17-ounce package of frozen phyllo sheets, thawed in refrigerator

Rinse and drain the spinach very, very well. 

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. 

Saute onions 2 minutes. Add spinach and dill and continue cooking for 4 minutes, or until the spinach is just barely wilted. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Spinach mixture should be on the dry side. Remove from heat and set the spinach aside to cool.

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