SPINACH AND FETA PHYLLO PASTRIES
phyllo dough sheets, fresh or frozen *)
melted butter (about 70 g)
1 small onion or ½ medium onion
1 garlic clove
1 tbsp olive oil
about 280 g fresh spinach or 150 g frozen spinach
115 g feta cheese
1 small egg or 1 large egg yolk
pinch of grated nutmeg
If you are using frozen phyllo dough, let it thaw in refrigerator (or follow the instructions on the package).
If you are using frozen spinach, let it also thaw in refrigerator, removed from its wrapping, in a colander placed over a bowl so that the resulting liquid runs out. Squeeze the thawed spinach dry.
If using fresh spinach, remove any withered leaves and cut off any stalks that are too thick. Thoroughly rinse the spinach by plunging the leaves in a large bowl of fresh, cold water, then strain.
Place the damp leaves in a large saucepan, cover with a lid and heat on a stove on medium-high heat until wilted and collapsed. Strain out the liquid, let the spinach cool for a couple of minutes and squeeze dry.
Chop the spinach, onion and garlic finely. Sauté the onions in oil until softened and translucent. Do not let them brown.
Add the spinach and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture on a plate and let it cool down.
Crumble the feta cheese and add it into the cool spinach mixture. Mix in the egg and spices.
Place the thawed phyllo sheets on the work surface and cover with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out.
Depending on the size of the whole sheets, it may be easier to first cut
them in half (lengthwise) before starting to work with them. Keep the unused sheets covered
with the damp towel.
Take one phyllo sheet and lightly brush it with melted butter. Place another sheet of the same size on top, then cut the
sheets into long, narrow strips (about 7 cm wide).
Place a good tablespoon of the spinach filling on one end of a phyllo strip. Work with one strip at a time, keeping the rest covered
with the damp towel. Fold one corner of the strip diagonally over the filling so that the short edge meets the long edge (see the picture below). Continue folding from side to side until you reach the end of the strip and have
a triangle-shaped package.
Turn and wrap the dough around the filling
until you get a triangular packet
Brush the pastries with melted butter and bake immediately at 190 - 200 °C for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.
Brush the pastries with melted butter once again right after baking. Serve them as appetizers.
Makes about 15 to 20 pastries, depending on the size of the phyllo strips used.
*) For this recipe, I use five phyllo sheets sized 35 × 48 centimetres, weighing about 200 grams. I cut every sheet in five equal-sized strips, 7 cm wide and 48 cm long. Using two strips per one pastry, this makes 12 pastries.
Recipe source: adapted from "Spanakopita", Société Radio-Canada/Saveurs de saison, 1999.