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I attended a local annual Greek Festival this Labor Day weekend in Orange, CT called "Odyssey" at the ST Barbara Greek Orthodox Church. Throughout the day, several cooking classes were held, free of charge, taught by a very nice lady from Greece named Virginia. The next class was about to start, so I decided to watch, even though it was for a recipe I already thought I knew how to make - spanakopita. Well - Virginia's version blew mine away and now this is the version I will only use from now on. This has a lot more fresh herbs and two types of onions, and lots of eggs, more than any recipe for spanakopita I had ever used. Virginia said that you cut the finished recipe into 24 servings, so really, 8 eggs isn't too many. She also said that you may use fresh spinach, finely chopped to equal the same amount as the frozen, but that it is not necessary since the frozen comes pre-chopped and will be getting cooked anyway. She also said that she makes her own pastry for this, but that it is perfectly fine to use a good quality brand of boxed phyllo pastry (which is what she used in the class). She specifically mentioned not adding any salt, as the feta is already salty enough. Also, she used Parmesan because that is what is available in the US - in Greece she would use a similar Greek cheese, such as mizithra.
- 3 lbs frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 2 lbs good quality Greek feta cheese, crumbled
- 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 onion, chopped (use a small-medium size one)
- 2 bunches scallions, washed, chopped, green and white parts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped coarsely
- 1⁄2 bunch fresh dill, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup once chopped)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 lb prepared raw phyllo pastry sheet (either #4 or #7 size thickness)
- 1⁄4 cup butter, melted, as needed to brush pastry
- water, as needed to spritz pastry
- Defrost, drain, and squeeze the spinach dry as possible and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet and add oil.
- Saute onion for a few minutes, just until they begin to get translucent, not brown.
- Add scallions and saute a few minutes longer.
- Add parsley and dill and saute for a few seconds.
- Season with pepper (she poured some into the cap of the pepper jar and dumped it in- she said approximately 1 tsp).
- Combine lightly beaten eggs, spinach,feta,Parmesan cheese, and the onions mixture in a large bowl, mixing gently until combined.
- Using a pastry brush,very lightly butter a large jelly roll pan (approx 11"x14")- it should be a large rectangular shape with fairly low sides.
- Set a sheet or two of phyllo pastry into the pan to evenly cover the bottom, and then brush very lightly with butter (she said to not go overboard with the butter).
- Repeat until you have 10 layers of pastry in the pan (if using #4 thickness; if using the thicker #7 size, then make 1 or 2 fewer layers).
- Spread spinach mixture evenly in the pan.
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Meanwhile, layer another 10 layers of phyllo pastry on top, as before, folding and tucking in edges at the corners as you go.
- Using a clean spray bottle filled with some cold water, lightly mist surface- this will produce a crispy top layer.
- Using a sharp knife, cut into 24 squares.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour.
Fabulous spanakopita recipe for a crowd! I did have to sub in some drained cottage cheese as I was short on feta. Used more grated cheese to balance and it was FABULOUS! 3/4 of the GIANT pan was demolished at the Super Bowl party - party goers were almost all self-professed "carnivores" who just gobbled this up. Keeper recipe that came together fast and was spectacular (I did tart it up by scattering black & brown sesame seeds across the top before baking). Thanks for posting. Can't believe this recipe has languished for a decade! May become my go-to for potluck type gatherings. Definitely on the menu for Easter!