I love Spanakopita. I enjoy it during Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival at the Greece kiosk, and I recently visited a place near Downtown Orlando, Mediterranean Blue, that serves up a HUGE and delicious piece of the savory pie. It’s a dish I’ve never attempted at home, so while flipping through cookbooks of Food & Wine Festivals past (this recipe is from 2009), Greece’s recipe for Spanakopita definitely stood out.
Here’s what the Spanakopita looked like at the 2012 Festival:
I went out and bought the ingredients to make the dish, and gathered what I had on hand. I’ll have some notes at the bottom of the post with things I tweaked beforehand and would change on my next batch. Yes, I will be making it again!
I’m not going to go through each and every cooking step, but merely point out some before and afters for reference.
If you’ve ever cooked fresh spinach before, you know it goes from this:
Here is the spinach mixed with other vegetables and cheeses for the filling.
All tucked in!
Crispy and ready to eat!
And the moment we’ve been waiting for!
The recipe was great. If you’re comfortable working with fragile phyllo do, you could try making the triangle pockets like the ones at Food & Wine. Serving as a side dish (or a meal, as I’ll be using this batch for several!), this is certainly the way to go. I didn’t feel the ingredients seems scaled back from a mass-production version, nor did I find any flavor that would nod to the ingredient amounts being off. Making the recipe with fresh spinach is a bit time consuming, but I’ve got some thoughts on that in the notes.
Here’s a look at the recipe and some mods I made and would make in the future (click for larger):
Notes (aka the boring stuff for some people ):
First up, the spinach. For cost and time efficiency, go with frozen. These two one pound bags yielded about two softball size portions when cooked. The time to remove stems and cook didn’t seem to be worth the price for fresh as it cost over $7. I think frozen would work perfectly fine in this recipe and wouldn’t really provide any change in flavor.
I used pre-crumbled low fat feta since it was on sale and the only non-flavored variety left. I would have gone with whole brick feta and crumbled myself otherwise. The 3.5 oz container was just shy of a half cup, so you could likely get away with one, but I did take a little out of the second package.
I would have liked to have made the ricotta from scratch (it’s really easy!) but time constraints came into play. I used garlic I had on hand, which was chopped and packed in water, instead of fresh. Fresh may have been more pungent, but this provided a mellow garlic flavor. Opt for flat-leaf or Italian parsley as opposed to curly parsley. Although you can interchange them in most recipes, the flavor of the Italian variety seems to compliment the dish more.
Coating the dish with olive oil allowed for a really nice release from the glass pan. However, between the layers of phyllo, I would probably use salted butter in the future for some extra flavor and salt. I also used an 8×8 pan instead of the 9×9. Next time, I think I might try this in a 9×13 with a few more sheets of phyllo to provide a different crust-to-filling ratio.
If you enjoyed the Spanakopita from Greece at Food & Wine, do you think you might try this recipe at home?