Spanokopita (span-noh-KOH-pee-tah) – this flaky, scrumptious combination of spinach, onions, feta, phyllo pastry, and butter has been a home-cooked treat at our house ever since our daughter, Ayla, embarked on her path of mastering the kitchen sciences when she was 14.
She was both earnest and remarkable at it; if I was any help at all to her, it was simply due to an ability to relinquish my control over the kitchen and hope that she would leave it as she found it---and, to get out of her way.
She poured over the few cookbooks that I owned, and then started checking more out from the library. It seems like every Christmas and birthday, we would buy her another book or a small appliance to help her along her journey.
I think I miss her soups and sandwiches the most when she not at home. But her spinach pie is what is always requested if she’s able to attend a family gathering. She made it for us recently, and this time I paid special attention and took some photos.
But it really shouldn’t; they are already made. You just need to buy a box, simply lay them in your baking dish, one at a time, and drizzle a bit of butter in-between each layer. If they tear in the process---no worries; you won’t be able to tell.
One thing I’ve realized about this dish, is if the spinach and phyllo are co-stars, then the onions and feta are the supporting actors that actually got to take home the golden statue. They are what make this recipe mouth-watering.
According to Ayla, the onions should be white and the feta should be the kind sold in solid blocks which are stored in its own liquid, and not crumbled or seasoned. Here in the states, Vigo is a brand that she likes the best. It comes in a blue and white container and is saltier tasting than others.
- 2 (10oz) pkgs. frozen spinach
- 2 c. feta cheese
- 2 c. small curd cottage cheese
- 6 eggs
- 2 onions, chopped
- Two handfuls of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. salt
- Couple dashes of ground nutmeg
- 1 stick of butter, melted
- Package of phyllo dough
This recipe is doubled from the original and can be halved. It fills a large 10 x 15 inch baking dish. We like to have enough for leftovers; it’s wonderful the next day and I like to snack on it cold right from the fridge. If you only make half, then you would want to use a 9 x 13 inch dish.
First thing you want to do is heat your oven to 350°. Then, place spinach in glass bowl and microwave until completely thawed.
Drain entirely. (See photos for Ayla’s process of squeezing the excess liquid out of the spinach. I’m not sure where she got that idea from, but it works.)
Add feta, cottage cheese, eggs, and onion to spinach.
Stir and add parsley, oregano, salt and nutmeg.
Drizzle butter onto the bottom of a glass baking dish and place one sheet of phyllo over it.
Drizzle every sheet with butter until you feel you have enough to support the bottom of the pie---about seven to nine sheets.
Spoon all of spinach mixture on top and begin placing phyllo sheets on top with butter again---the same amount.
Bake, covered, for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes, until golden brown. That’s it! That’s all there is to it…honest.
Spanokopita can be made the day before and stored in the refrigerator until it is time to bake if you would like. If you need to prepare it earlier, just freeze it and thaw it out before you bake it.
*To Ayla---thank you for letting me document you :-) I’ve already eaten all of the spinach pie and am already missing you, very, very much.
love, love, love,
I hope you try this golden,flaky treat for yourself--- I know you will not be sorry,