Monday, December 14, 2009
An easy recipe for my 5th food group: Spanakopita
Aunt Mary made me a tray of spanakopita every week for almost an entire year.
I would merely save it for dinner or maybe a savory breakfast snack and relinquish in my spinach pie street snacking habits during the day. There were so many types: spanakopita coiled up like a snail shell, spanakopita in large trays that were hacked into squares (Thessaloniki style), Fasting spanakopita without cheese or butter - heavy on the olive oil and wild greens, Spanakopita from the gas station (!), from Greek Starbucks, Spanakopita from the mountain villages with homemade phyllo, you name it. Aunt Mary would taunt me that I'd have spankopita coming out my nose I ate it so much.
My Greek relatives would ask me:
"Where is the best place in Athens for spanakopita?"
I had spanakopita rapport even with local Athenians. I don't get sick of it and never will. I love it and yeah, there is no such thing as normal.
When my friend Evangelos, a Greek from Greece, asked me to teach him how to make Spanakopita, I was a little flattered. Every Greek thinks his mom's spanakopita is the best. I used to think my mom's spanakopita was the best until I found a large bug -wings in-tact- while biting into her version made with swiss chard from the back yard.
"Eeeeextra protein!!!!" She'd shriek back with a grin, like I'd just won the magical protein cracker jack's prize she's strategically placed in the casserole.
The version I made with Evangelos has pre-washed baby spinach and frozen phyllo dough. It's super easy to make and you can totally impress your friends with your Hellenic culinary skills and make Aunt Mary proud.
1 1/2 lbs fresh baby spinach
1 lb Greek feta
1 package frozen phyllo dough (thawed out overnight in the refrigerator or left at room temperature for several hours)
1/2 - 3/4 cup olive oil
Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Rough chop leeks and place into hot skillet with olive oil. Cook until slightly pale, then add spinach until just wilted (spinach will cook more in the oven) and remove from heat.