What’s not to love? Crispy, buttery phyllo, a dilly spinach and feta filling- served warm or at room temp, and sneakily stolen from the fridge as a midnight snack. It’s heaven to me.
When I started to develop a passion for cooking in my early 20’s, I asked (begged) my friend, who is of Greek descent, to teach me how to make a proper Spanakopita. She didn’t really know how to make it either so she invited me to her house and her mom taught us both how to make it, step-by-step. Until this day, I haven’t had a better one anywhere and have made it exactly this way ever since.
I am forever grateful to them for sharing their time and their precious family recipe with me. I hope you like it as much as I do.
- 1 9X13 casserole dish or other similarly sized baking dish
- About 600g of fresh spinach tough stems discarded, washed and drained. A little more or less than this quantity is fine.
- 1 bunch of fresh dill (aprox 20g or to taste) roughly chopped – discarding the very long stems.
- 1/4 lb lb of feta cheese (113g or to taste) crumbled – preferably Greek feta (creamier and less salty)
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 package phyllo dough thawed (I buy Presidents Choice, best thawed overnight in the fridge)
- 3-4 Green onions (approx 70g or to taste) 3 if large – Green and white parts , thinly sliced (you can sub with a medium yellow onion)
- Salt to taste
- 1 pinch Nutmeg (optional)
- ½ cup butter for brushing the layers (1 stick) Melted and kept warm
- Preheat oven to 375
- In a medium bowl, combine the two beaten eggs + a pinch of nutmeg (if using) with the crumbled feta – thoroughly coating it. Cover and set aside in the fridge.
- Heat a large frying pan on medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan.
- Sauté the onion until softened. Add chopped dill and combine until wilted slightly.
- Add all the spinach to the pan. It’ll have a lot of volume but will cook down dramatically. Add gradually if needed. Carefully fold to combine with onions and dill until wilted.
- Add a little salt and adjust if needed. Note: Your spinach needs to be flavourful on it's own but Feta is salty so take that into consideration when seasoning.
- Remove greens from heat (drain out any excess liquid) and set aside to cool.
- Note: Either drain by pressing the liquid out in a colander or place greens in a clean dish cloth and ring out.
- Lay your stack of phyllo dough sheets on the counter or cutting board and cover promptly with a damp cloth to keep the sheets hydrated. They dry out so quickly so when you take a sheet, cover the rest with the cloth immediately.
- When filling is cool, combine the egg/feta mixture with it until evenly incorporated. Set aside.
- Butter a 9×13 casserole dish. Place your first phyllo sheet into it and brush it with butter. (a little overhang is ok, you can fold it all onto the filling later.)
- Repeat with 3 more sheets, buttering each one. (4 sheets total)
- Fill your casserole with the filling, evening it out without compacting it.
- Fold any overhanging phyllo over the filling and brush with butter. Crinkles and folds are more than ok here. They contribute to the crispness.
- Place 3-4 sheets over the top, brushing them individually with butter as you did for the bottom sheets. Seal it by tucking the top sheets underneath the pie. Alternately, you can place the sheets over the filling and then fold the overhanging sheets over them, brushing the folds down with butter. (It won't look beautiful now but when it's cooked, it will look lovely & rustic 😉
- Some people pre-cut their pieces, cutting through the top and filling but NOT cutting through the bottom crust. Alternately, leave it whole but cut a few slits into the top layers for moisture to escape.
- Once it’s completely cool, you can freeze it at this point. Otherwise bake for 30-40 minutes (depends on size) until phyllo is crispy and very golden. Enjoy!