Spring is here! Not only do I see flowers popping up, hear birds chirping, watch the sun peaking through rain clouds, smell wild garlic in the morning dew… we have spinach, and radishes, and turnips, oh my! Goodbye starchy, heavy vegetables- it’s been a nice winter and you have kept my fully sustained- but bring on the leafy greens.
With the start up of Friday night dinners we have gotten the chance to start playing and cooking with springs early offerings. Not only do the surrounding farms have an abundance of sweet tender vegetables, our very own garden is pumping out some delicious salad greens.
Of all the greens so far- spinach is the winner. There is enough to go around for everyone- and then once more. We have incorporated in soups, quiches, salads and tamale pies. It’s too early in the season to start getting tired of such a nutrient rich leaf… and so we continue to rack our brains for spinach recipes. One in particular that I have become fond of is Spanakopita. When mentioning the dish to my mother the other day, she shuddered across the phone line. “Spanakopita? For forty? That sounds intensive and a bit awful..” My thoughts exactly, before I got a down a nice system and got over the fear of working with that fickle phyllo dough. The filling is easy and delicious- don’t let that flaky dough throw you off. Below, I will post a recipe for the filling. Now, my advice to you, is get everything set up. Create a station for yourself. Melt your butter with a pastry brush ready beside it, lay out the phyllo and cover with a damp rag (use throughout the whole process to keep the dough from getting brittle and impossible to work with), and have your filling ready to go. The following recipe is just a basic spinach filling- as summer goes on, add fun herbs popping up everywhere, incorporate green onions, or add a crunch with a handful or walnuts or pine nuts- above all, be glad spinach season is upon us… because that means berries and peaches aren’t too far behind!
1 package Phyllo dough
8 cups Spinach Leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup cheese (I chose Avalanche Chevre)
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
1 each egg
5 Tbsp heavy cream
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Start by heating a skillet or large pan with olive oil (just to coat the bottom). Once the oil is heated through add chopped garlic and stir until just golden brown.
Add all of the spinach and stir to incorporate garlic. Add oregano, salt and pepper to spinach. Stir until spinach is just cooked (wilted) and remove from heat.
Add the egg, cream, and cheese to the spinach mixture and stir until fully incorporated. On a half sheet tray (or casserole dish) layer three pieces of dough, while brushing each layer with the melted butter, to create the bottom crust of the Spanakopita. Place the filling evenly across the first layers of phyllo dough and repeat first step by placing three more pieces (butter in between) on top.
Brush the top layer with remaining butter and add crumbled feta on top. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until top is gold brown.
Cut into triangles and serve while hot!