Monday, April 10, 2017

Spinach Pie

Oh my it's Spinach Pie! I was asked to bring something "green" to dinner the other day. I usually think of salads when I think green. I like salads and the possibilities they hold, but in an attempt to make something different,
I turned to the Barefoot Contessa. I thought I remembered seeing a spinach pie recipe in her cookbook. Bingo, I remembered correctly.

This delicious pie is very easy to make. Basically, all of the raw ingredients are thrown into a bowl with sautéed onions and then baked. It really is too easy for something so delicious. The thin, flaky crust melts in every bite. The cheeses meld with the rest of the ingredients into something that resembles spanakopita. This is perfect for a bring-a-dish event. It slices beautifully. I have changed measurements a little bit. I think Ina would be pleased.

Chop onions and sauté for 10-15 minutes, until they are soft and browned. 
While the onions are on the stove, mix together the rest of the ingredients. 

Squeeze as much liquid out of thawed spinach as possible. I used a cheesecloth, twisting it around the spinach until there was nothing left to squeeze. Place it in a fairly large bowl.

Grate nutmeg, measure pinon nuts and bread crumbs. Add them to the bowl .

Grate parmesan cheese. I used a large grate. I love parmesan, and I didn't want it lost in the other flavors. Toss it in the bowl.

Cut feta into roughly 1/2 inch cubes, or add pre-crumbled feta here. 

Don't forget the eggs. I think the layers are pretty. It already looks tasty.

Take the onions off the burner, if you haven't already. Add salt and pepper. Cool for a few minutes. When they're cool enough not to cook the eggs, add them to the bowl. 

Gently mix it all together.

Lay out the crust. Personally, I have never found phyllo dough easy to work with. It breaks, cracks, splits, sticks together, and falls apart on me. I lay a wet paper towel over the dough as soon as I take it out of the package to keep it from drying out. I keep it on my working stack at all times. I suppose this helps. I can't imagine the mess I would make by letting it dry out. What you want to do here is take a layer at a time, place it in your baking dish, brush it with butter, and repeat. Dough, butter. Dough, butter... Overlap and fill in empty spaces. It won't matter if you have a million tiny pieces buttered together to make the crust. 

What is important is taking the larger pieces and letting them hang over the edge of the pan. Place the spinach mixture on top of the crust. 

Turn the phyllo, that overhangs the edges, on top of the filling.

Top with more phyllo sheets. Butter everything. If there is leftover butter, pour it on top. This is going to make that crust so crisp, flaky, and delicious.

Place in a 375 degree oven for an hour. It will be a gorgeous golden brown.  

This is why it needs to cool completely. It needs to set. I know the smell is beckoning you, but resist! If you just can't help it, taste a little flake of the crust. It made the anticipation worse, didn't it? 

  • 2 yellow onions
  • a splash of olive oil to sauté the onions 
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 t pepper
  • 3 pkg frozen drained spinach - 10 oz. or 12 oz. whichever is available
  • 6 beaten eggs
  • 2 t grated nutmeg - grating your own really does taste better, but if you don't have whole nutmeg, use ground nutmeg from the jar
  • 1 C coarsely ground parmesan - again, grating your own is better, but if you have a bag of pre-shredded use it. Don't use the parmesan in a can that looks like sawdust
  • 3 T breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 lb feta (4 oz.) cut into cubes - it won't be as fresh, but of course pre-crumbled feta can be subbed here
  • 1/2 C pine nuts (another word for pinon nuts)
  • 1 stick butter - splurge if you don't have real butter. It's healthier anyway
  • 8-10 sheets defrosted phyllo dough

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