Spanakopita

I had my super-special friend Laurel from Trophy Boutique come over to show me how to make spanakopita, thereby showing y’all how to make it, too. The idea is that chicks dig this shit and we ought to know because we are chicks. It has vegetables in it and it requires purchasing (and knowing how to use) phyllo dough which is Greek and therefore also exotic (chicks love exotic shit).

Plus, as Laurel points out, if you have several dates in one week, you can make a big pan of this and reheat it in the oven for each lady. Don’t be too obvious about it, though. It works like a charm and then you just serve it on a plate with some sliced tomatoes and basil with salt. Fuckin’ gorgeous. And yumzers.

We used the recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook because that’s the one Laurel’s mother used when Laurel was very small. It is GOOD, dudes (and ladies). And really not even complicated. But it is a time-intensive meal that requires at least a modicum of planning, which is impressive to thoughtful guests.

And you will need the following tools that you may not just have laying around:

  • a 9″x13″ pan (you can get one at the dollar store for probably only a few dollars. Or borrow one from your mom. DON’T tell her it’s to get you laid.)
  • a basting brush or a clean paintbrush or I guess you could use one of those oil spray bottles or perhaps a clump of animal fur like they did in the caveman days when spanakopita was made in pits in the ground over fires fueled by the bones of ancient sea creatures.

Also, you better wash the holy living hell out of the spinach unless you pay top dollar for some prewashed business. Spinach is sandy and dirty because it lives in the ground so wash it in LOTS of water and at least THREE times. I’m not even kidding you. It’s that filthy. Filthy good. (Tips on washing spinach are at the bottom of this post.)

And another thing (is this getting too complicated for you?) you must do is remember to thaw the phyllo dough. It’ll be in the freezer section near the pie crusts and stuff so, you know, it’s frozen. Just put it in the fridge for 24 hours (or longer) and if you need it before that, leave it on the counter for 2 hours to thaw.

spanakopita recipe

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Spanakopita
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Greek spinach and pastry casserole
Recipe type: main
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ½ c olive oil (not to be used all at once)
  • 2 c onion, minced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2½ pounds fresh spinach, cleaned and de-stemmed and chopped coarsely
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 c ricotta or cottage cheese
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 pound phyllo pastry leaves – thawed!
Instructions
  1. Turn your oven to 375 now so it’s preheated later.
  2. In a big-ass pot, saute the onion in 2 tablespoons of the oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat, just until they become slightly translucent.
  3. Add the salt and herbs. Stir it around.
  4. Add the spinach and garlic and stir that around. You will have to add the spinach a few handfuls at a time to make it all fit. Add some, stir it around until it wilts, then add more.
  5. When all the spinach is in there and wilted, sprinkle the flour over, stir well, and reduce the heat to low. The flour will absorb the spinach liquid and make the filling more firmer.
  6. While the spinach simmers, begin layering the phyllo sheets in the baking pan. Brush a little of the remaining ½ cup of oil on the bottom of the pan. Lay in a sheet of phyllo and brush some oil on it, too. Layer about 10 more sheets with oil on each.
  7. By now the spinach should be looking good and thick. Add all the cheese and black pepper. Stir it up good and plop it into the pan on top of the phyllo. Spread it evenly.
  8. Top that with more layers of phyllo and oil. You will blow through about ¾ of the pack of phyllo dough.
  9. Tuck the edges of the phyllo all in and under so it’s not sticking up over the lip of the pan. Spread liberally with the oil, especially the periphery.
  10. VERY IMPORTANT: Before cooking, you must cut it into squares. Cutting will be impossible to do nicely afterwards. Use a sharp knife to cut it into 12 squares, cutting all the way through the layers.
  11. Put the (very heavy) pan in the oven now and bake it about 45 minutes until golden and crispy.
  12. Let it cool 10 minutes or longer while you make a tomato salad and open a bottle of Pinot Grigio or some other light wine.


Comments

  1. Steve Singler says:

    Silly girls.

  2. I like green food (and Greek food), but for those who don’t, substitute a half-cup of grated Romano cheese and 3-4 beaten eggs for the spinach. That makes it tyropita instead of spanakopita.

    • Hilah Cooking says:

      Thanks, man! I’ve never had tyropita but I’ll have to try it if it’s that easy! I can always have my spinach on the side.

  3. Blip.tv deserves to be flogged! This episode isn’t up on their website. Thankfully, I also subscribe via YouTube, iTunes and RSS.

    Okay, so does the fact that I’m the sort of guy who crumbles his own cheese cancel out my being a pussy for preferring ricotta? Also, I may be retired from romance, but I’d still like to know what a preference for corner pieces says about a woman! And does this preference hold true for other stuff dished up similarly?

    • Hilah Cooking says:

      I would like to know the answer to that, too, Randy, dear. Unfortunately, Laurel will not spill ALL of her secrets. But I am working on her. I’ll let you know what I find out. ;)

  4. Oh, hell, I forgot to add the link to someone pronouncing spanakopita. Evidently you can pronounce it 2 ways: http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=spanakopita&submit=Submit

    • Hilah Cooking says:

      Aha! Okay, that is easy enough. We were debating before we filmed whether it was ever pronounced span-a-ko-PEE-ta but, no, it is not. Thanks, man!

  5. fm you’re funny! ;) good stuff hilah!

  6. Okay, so I have mentioned that I make your recipes GF style…like a millions times..but, for a brief moment this recipe stumped me! However, I never give up on yumminess; so, right now I have a spanakopita pie in the oven – Whole Foods makes the yummiest, most buterriest! (YEP!), GF pie crust….so I’ll keep you posted on the results!!!!!!

    • HOLY HELL YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Spanakopi-PIE!! Gluten Free – HOLLA!!!! and so much easier than worrying with that damn wheat phyllo, HA!

      • Hilah Cooking says:

        Oh, dude, Cindy! What a brilliant idea! I bet that was SUPER good. Did you do a double crust or just a single? How long you bake it for? YUM! I want some right now. Happy Mother’s Day, girl!

        • I only used a single crust, double crust!! Oh LA LA, that’s an idea! I baked it at 375 for 40 minutes….I bought more spinach so I could make another.

          Side note…as I mentioned I have a 4yo lil man, I obvioulsy say “Hilah” of “Hilah recipe” a lot, because on Mom’s Day morning he and his daddy made me stuffed french toast and as I was served, in bed :), he informed me that “Hilah didn’t have a french toast recipe, so daddy look it up on the food network.” I couldn’t stop gigglin’ as he said your name as if you were his girl and ya’ll were down like that!!

          • Hilah Cooking says:

            Oh my gawd! I needa meet your little dude someday! That is so awesome. I hope you had a great mother’s day. With a start like that, it had to have been.
            XO

          • Hilah Cooking says:

            And, thanks for the pie instructions!

  7. If you want to, google “gluten free phyllo” for recipes to make the sheets of it.

    • Great idea! Seriously, though in the pie was AMAZINGLY SHOCKINGLY YUMMY! and way way way way easy…my lil guy (age 4) was actually the chef on this one ;)

  8. OK so I don’t have any dates lined up (ladies…) but yeah I think I’ll actually give this dish a go tomorrow evening. I have never even seen phyllo pastry though, so I worry that I wont be able to find it.

    I mean, I had trouble finding pie crust last time I made a pot pie – stupid Kroger with their complicated organization-system (aisles). In fact I’m heading to the grocery store for parts in a few minutes, so I’ll follow up when I return but you should be proud I’m even attempting something with this many layers!

    • Well shit. So I went to Kroger and looked for these pastry sheets … and just as I suspected, they didn’t have them. I found pie crusts and puff pastry but no phyllo pastry. I am doomed to never have a good date. Damn you Kroger with your mojo-blasting lack of date-night-dinner-parts!

      If I can be bothered to go to Whole Foods (it’s pretty far away) I might see if they have it but for now this idea is toast. Any other date recipe ideas? I’ve been wanting to learn how to make homemade, hand-tossed pizza. Would that impress the ladies?

      • Hilah Cooking says:

        Oh, dear Jack.
        A) check out the comment thread on this episode. Someone else used pie crust! She made spanakopi-pie! So that is an option. Ladies will just think you’re really experimental and fusion-cooking-oriented. That’s COOL.
        Also,
        B) Yes, homemade pizza would totally impress me. I have a pizza-expert friend I’ve been meaning to get on here. Hopefully that will happen before you have a date lined up. Although, I am sure the ladies are knocking on your door as we speak.

        • Technically, I do have a date coming up but it’s at an art auction and I’ll be forced to feign interest while hipster postmodern beatniks stand around discussing the nuances of color as it applies to the psyche of meaningless suburban consumerism. Or whatever artists talk about.

          The true intent will be to lure her to my lair, so that I can inspire her with my own artistry: cooking skillz. I’m talking, of course, about my newly envisioned deep-dish-pizza-spanakopi-pie. Fusion baby, fusion.

          • Hilah Cooking says:

            There’s no way this plan will fail.
            (But let me know if it does so that I can revise my dating advice for the future generations.)

  9. Thanks Hilah!

    I will be trying this one. And I have just the chick to make it for. A married couple I know are bringing their vegetarian single friend for dinner soon. We will grill steaks of course (which doesn’t bother her). But I wanted to have a really good vegetarian dish for her. Something we all will like that will show her that I did made a special effort just for her. Know what I mean? Can’t hurt, right? This looks perfect. A great side dish for the steak eaters too.

    Nice video. And I like your friend Laurel.

    Later,

    John

    • Hilah Cooking says:

      Great idea, John! It’s always impressive to be a thoughtful person. And I’m sure everyone will enjoy and appreciate it. Have a great dinner. Let me know how it turns out!
      -hilah
      PS I like Laurel, too! :)

  10. I might be in love, and so is my girlfriend.

  11. And me!

  12. I tried this out and it worked out well. Next time I might use frozen, chopped spinach. I will, for sure, never again, not buy the pre-bagged, pre-rinshed spinach. Take my money, please! Also, I acciently bought puff pastry instead of phyllo dough, but it still tasted great. Check it out on my blog, What the Dog Ate. Thanks for sharing!

  13. what is it about spinach that makes the vaginas go cray cray

  14. Phillip Miller says:

    I watched the video of you and your friend making spanakopia I bwelive you called it, and it56 was interresting, and fuinny. I couldn’t stop laughing for a while. You two are great together, and make a good team. Anyway, I am going to school to be a chef someday, if I live that long. I am going down to my girlfriends house for christmas, I think I will try that recipe there. Juset wanted to let you know it was interesting, and I look forward to many more of your recipes in the future. Phil

    • Hey Phil!
      This recipe is really a winner and would be great for Christmas. I hope you get a chance to try it.
      Thank you for writing!

  15. Why all the fowl language?

  16. i really enjoy watching your videos Hilah..ur freaking yummy food plus Hilah equals… 10 million awesomeness!!!

  17. matthew says:

    hi hilah! i have a friend who could become more… you know how all you girls are nuts lol, and this dish seems like one i would love to try to make. i do have a strange question about it though. i’ve recently learned that cooked spinach makes your teeth feel ichy for a long time.. like dirty? would that be an issue with this meal? i know it sounds funny asking about how your teeth feel after a delicious dinner, but some people are put off by that. :s

    • Hi Matthew!
      You comment made me laugh – girls are nuts!
      In my experience, raw spinach makes teeth feel “itchy”, but not cooked spinach. The reason is that spinach has oxalic acid in it that lightly etches the enamel on your teeth and makes them feel kind of rough temporarily. Cooking the spinach deactivates the acid so you should be fine! Except for the dreaded “spinach in the teeth” problem. ;)
      Good luck on your courtship of the lucky lady!
      -h

  18. This looks amazing! It is baking in the oven as I speak. I even took a bite of the filling and it was freaking delicious. This was the first time I had ever had feta cheese and I am hooked. Thank you Hilah and Laurel for such a great recipe.

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