Spanokopita

This Greek spinach pie is an excellent luncheon dish and can be served lukewarm at a picnic.

Phyllo is a paper-thin pastry “leaf” that is used for baklava, spanokopita, and many other Middle Eastern dishes. It can be bought at Greek or Middle Eastern groceries or at specialty shops. It is often sold frozen, wrapped in plastic, and should be defrosted overnight, in its own wrapper, in the refrigerator. Since it becomes brittle and unworkable quickly when exposed to air, you should keep it covered with a layer of waxed paper covered with a very slightly damp cloth as you work, but don’t let it get wet, or it will stick together.

Ingredients

6 12 20 50
spinach, fresh 2 lbs 4 lbs 7 lbs 15 lbs
scallion bunches 1 2 3 7
olive oil 1 tbs 2 tbs tbs 8 tbs
feta cheese or 1 lb 2 lbs lbs 7 lbs
feta and ½ lb 1 lb 1¾ lbs lbs
farmer’s cheese ½ lb 1 lb 1¾ lbs lbs
eggs, lightly beaten 7 14 20 30
baking powder ½ tsp 1 tsp tsp 3 tsp
salt (to taste) (to taste) (to taste) (to taste)
freshly ground black pepper (to taste) (to taste) (to taste) (to taste)
phyllo pastry ½ lb 1 lb lbs 3 lbs
melted butter ½ c 1 c c c

Method

Wash, drain, and chop the spinach. (If you are making a large amount, the easiest way is to wash the spinach and cook it in a large kettle, briefly, in the liquid clinging to its leaves, until it wilts. Then chop it.) Chop the scallions, and brown them slightly in a skillet in a little olive oil. Combine the scallions, cheeses, eggs, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and toss with the spinach.

Brush a 9 × 13 × 1½-inch or larger baking pan with butter. Lay in it five or six sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter. Add spinach mixture and cover with 5 or 6 more sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter. (You can use more phyllo if you like, and spread the spinach between several of the middle layers.) Be sure the top layer of phyllo is an unbroken one. Pour the remaining melted butter over all and bake in a 350° oven until golden. For one pan, this will take about an hour. Serve hot, cut into squares.

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