I think this will be my favorite recipe of 2018.
I know it’s probably too early in the year to say that I have a favorite recipe, but I really love this spanakopita (aka spinach pie). Let’s just say that I’ve set a high standard for all recipes that follow this one.
Spanakopita is usually made in a big pan to serve a lot of people. If you’re my Yiayia (Greek grandma), then you make it in a very big pan. You know, because Greeks like to make enough food to feed an army no matter how many people are coming over. This is the sort of thing that I need to make for a dinner party because my husband and I would be eating a tray of spanakopita for weeks. Not that that’s a bad thing because we love this stuff. We’re trying to eat healthier and this is not exactly healthy food to have in the house. However, I do believe in eating anything I want in moderation so my solution is to make a spanakopita that’s perfect for a dinner for two.
There are a lot of different recipes for spanakopita. So many in fact that my Greek cookbook has three recipes for it. Yes, in just one book. More specifically, the ingredients in the spinach filling can vary from recipe to recipe. I tried to replicate the spanakopita that my Yiayia makes because of course hers is the best ever. This recipe also happens to be similar to what you’d find at many homes and restaurants in Greece.
It’s surprisingly easy to make spanakopita, but it’s kind of time consuming to put together. My husband theorizes that Greek housewives from a long time ago (whenever spanakopita was invented) must have had a lot of time on their hands. You may want someone to chat with while you painstakingly butter every single layer of phyllo dough. Every. Single. Layer. Yes, there is a fair amount of butter going on here. My husband had to try to keep me on task for this one because I kept trying to skip buttering layers and he would tell me that’s not how phyllo dough works. The butter gives you those gorgeous layers of crispiness and it makes it taste delicious. He was right. No cheating. Butter every layer. I did forewarn you that it’s not health food. I’d like to think that the spinach helps to balance out all the butter. 😉
It’s worth the time and effort because it’s absolutely one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. I must have told my husband no fewer than 50 times that this spanakopita was one of the best things I’ve ever made. Valentine’s Day is coming up so it would be the perfect thing to cook up for your honey.
I almost had to fight for my piece because my husband wanted more after he finished his. That’s always the conundrum when I make a small batch recipe. I guess you can say that I achieved my goal of not having leftovers. But then why do I feel gypped? 😉
Spinach Pie (Spanakopita) for Two Recipe
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped (equivalent to about 1/4 cup)
- 1 package (10 ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (equivalent to about 3/4 cup)
- 16 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 inch pan and set it aside.
- In a skillet, over low/medium heat, add the olive oil and finely chopped onion, and cook it until it’s slightly browned.
- Add the spinach into the skillet and stir everything together. (Don’t forget to make sure that the spinach is thawed and squeezed dry. I placed the thawed spinach in a colander and used paper towels to press the water out.)
- Remove the spinach mixture from the heat and set it aside. Let this rest to get to room temperature.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the egg, parsley, dill, salt, pepper, and feta cheese.
- Add in the spinach mixture and stir everything together and set this aside. (Make sure that the spinach mixture is not hot because you don’t want to scramble the egg.)
- Lay the phyllo dough on a cutting board and cut the pile in half lengthwise. Place half of the pile back into the freezer because you won’t be using those for this recipe.
- Lay 1 phyllo sheet into the pan, lengthwise, and brush melted butter on top of the sheet and up the sides. (It should go up the ends of the pan pretty far.) Do this for 8 phyllo sheets.
- Add the spinach filling on top in an even layer.
- Fold the phyllo sheets that are sticking up on the ends, down onto spinach filling, and brush the tops of the phyllo sheets with melted butter.
- Take the remaining 8 phyllo sheets and cut the pile into about 9 inch pieces. Your goal is that the sheets fit right into pan. I discarded the leftover small pieces.
- Lay 1 phyllo sheet on top of the spinach mixture and brush melted butter on top of the sheet. Do this for 8 phyllo sheets.
- Cut it in half prior to baking. Phyllo is super fragile after crispy so this will allow you to portion it without ruining it later.
- Bake it in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
Source: Tina’s Chic Corner