Friday, November 26, 2010

No Cheese Spanakopita

In planning my Thanksgiving menu I decided that we needed something made with phyllo dough.  As I have said in the past, everything tastes better wrapped in phyllo!  And, dishes made with phyllo just feel festive to me. I suppose this is a result of growing up in a Middle Eastern family where gatherings often featured dishes made with phyllo.

Though it is a bit of work, phyllo is pretty forgiving and seems always to come out looking as beautiful as it tastes.This is no exception. And, my favorite part of this dish is that my daughter helped me make it. I love cooking with my kids and am glad they are interested.

I used a mixture of frozen and fresh spinach only because I wanted to use the frozen spinach I had  the house. You can adjust quantities of spinach to make the filling layer as thick or thin as you want.

No Cheese Spanakopita

2 10 oz  packages frozen spinach thawed; moisture removed
15 oz oz fresh  organic baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh dill finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley finely chopped
5 green onions finely chopped (use both the white and green part)
1/4 cup fennel fronds finely chopped
24 phyllo dough sheets
3/4 cup +2 tbsp olive oil
dash of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In  a large skillet heat 2 tbsp olive oil and add fresh spinach, frozen spinach, dill, parsley, and fennel until the fresh spinach is thoroughly wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Brush the pan you will be baking the spanakopita in with oil.  I used the equivalent of a 9x13 pan.  Lay the phyllo sheets one at a time in the pan leaving some overlapping the sides.  Brush each sheet with oil before adding the next one. Repeat until you have laid 12 sheets.  Add the spinach mixture and spread evenly.  Fold the overlap over top of the mixture. Repeat with the next twelve sheets.  Tuck the overlap into the dish.  Score the top into serving size squares.  Wet your hands and shake the excess over the top of the spanakopita.

Bake at 350 on the rack just below the middle of the oven for one hour. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

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