24 November 2006
It's Greek To Me
Though often served as a side dish, larger portions of Spanikopita could easily be the main course in a vegetarian meal.
3 pounds spinach (see note)
2 tablespoons coarse salt
1-tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 large eggs
1/2-pound feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon crushed dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
1/4-teaspoon ground nutmeg
10 sheets phyllo dough
1/4-cup olive oil
Rinse spinach leaves vigorously in several changes of cold water; remove the tough stems. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with coarse salt. Rub salt into the leaves, tearing up the spinach by rubbing it between your hands. Spinach volume will decrease drastically. Rinse off salt. Squeeze excess water from spinach and blot dry with paper towels.
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
Heat first addition of olive oil and butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté until onion is fragrant and translucent and mushrooms are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, spinach and onion/mushroom mixture. Stir in parsley, oregano, rosemary and nutmeg. Place one phyllo sheet in 13x9x2-inch baking pan, letting edges hang over; brush with olive oil. Repeat with four more sheets. Add spinach filling, smoothing to edges with a spatula or wooden spoon. Top with remaining five
phyllo sheets, brushing each with oil, including the top layer. Trim the edges with a small, sharp knife or with scissors.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until thoroughly heated and golden brown on top.
Makes 12 servings.
Note: To substitute frozen spinach, use 2 (10-ounce) packages, thawed and squeezed dry.