I have been in a whirl of artistic inspiration lately from the book Mixed Mania by Cheryl Prater and Debbi Crane. It is a craft/art book about mixed-media art (my husband calls it "gluing-and-sticking") The chicken image on yesterday's post was one of my creations inspired by the book.
But it also contains a small number of recipes, including an intriguing one for a Greek spinach filo pie called Spanikopita. I had to try it and it turned out spectacularly good. Not only did it look stunning but it tasted delicious, and was so easy that the second time I made it I did it from memory.
Debbi Crane has very graciously given me permission to reproduce the recipe, so here it is:
Thea Betsy's Spanikopita (from Mixed Mania)
Over medium-low heat, put 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add a chopped onion and a minced clove of garlic and sauté until the onion becomes translucent. Add a 10 oz package of fresh baby spinach - it will mound up in the pan but cooks down, so don't panic. Add about a teaspoon of salt (not too much because feta is very salty) and about a teaspoon of oregano and 1/2 teaspoon of dill. Stir as the spinach cooks down.
When the spinach is cooked all the way down and dark green, remove the frying pan from the heat and tip it so the oil and water drain off to one side. I blot it up with a paper towel and even blot the spinach a bit to get all the extra moisture out.
In a small bowl, slightly beat an egg and add to a 4 oz container of crumbled feta cheese. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan or Romano. Mix the cheese in with the spinach in the frying pan. Set aside.
Using a basting brush, coat a glass pie plate with 2 oz butter melted with 1/4 cup of olive oil. Next lay one sheet from a package of filo pastry in the plate (you will have excess hanging over the edges, don't worry we'll deal with that later). Brush that sheet with the butter/oil and lay another sheet on top. Do this until you have 10 to 12 sheets in your pan. This is the bottom crust. Scoop the spinach mixture into the crust, and top with a sheet of filo. Create the top crust with remaining filo, brushing each layer with the butter/oil mixture.
To finish, here's my mom's advice, straight from the recipe card: "You can trim off the excess filo if you like. I fold it in along the edges and baste it with the butter/oil. Turns out nice and crunchy. Bake at 350 degrees until golden on top. Looks like a lot but it goes fast."
You can say that again!