There is no love sincerer than the love of food -George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spanak..spaknopi..Spinach Triangles!

Why couldn't my childhood memories be of store bought cupcakes?
My Grandma Lilly is Greek-Italian, so growing up whenever my grandparents visited we would have spanakopita, or as I knew them as, spinach triangles. I knew my mom never made them because they were difficult to make, but I had no idea how difficult that actually was!
My grandparents visited us this week, so I thought it was a great idea to try these out. Little did I know how sensitive phyllo dough is, and how much butter is used in these! Really good, brought back old memories, but no way am I making these again anytime soon!

p.s. I apologize for the poor quality of my pictures, I did them quickly because my grandma was looking at me like I was from the future :/

2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 (8-ounce) package feta cheese, crumbled
24 sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed
1 1/2 cups melted unsalted butter
Position rack in center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the spinach in a wire-mesh strainer or colander, place over a sink and drain well. Use your hands or a paper towel to squeeze the excess water out of the spinach.

Place the spinach in a medium mixing bowl. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, and basil. Stir in the beaten egg, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add the feta cheese and mix well to combine. Set aside.

Gently unfold the phyllo dough.* Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on a large cutting board and gently brush with the melted butter. Place a second phyllo sheet on top of the first and brush with butter. Repeat 2 more times until you have a stack of 4 phyllo sheets with butter brushed between the layers.

Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo sheets lengthwise into 3 strips. Place 2 tablespoons of the spinach filling 1 inch from the bottom end of each strip.

Take the bottom right corner of the strip between your thumb and finger and fold over the spinach filling to the left to make a triangle. Gently pull up the bottom left corner and fold up to make a second triangle. Continue folding until you reach the top. Place the triangle, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the completed triangle lightly with butter.

[A little confusing. Remember in middle school when you made those little paper footballs to flick across the classroom? Your doing exactly that!]
Repeat with the remaining strips and phyllo sheets until all of the filling is used.

Arrange the triangles 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden and heated all the way through. Remove the spanakopita from the oven and cool slightly on the baking sheet.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

*It is important to keep a piece of plastic wrap and a damp cloth or paper towel over the phyllo sheets that you are not working with to keep them from drying out.

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