Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Anna Sultana’s Spinach Appetizers, Greek style / Easy Spanakopita

A few days ago we ate out and I enjoyed my favourite - spanakopita.
Spanakopita is like the Maltese recipe Timpana, a savoury filling in puff pastry.
If you leave off the pastry you have another favourite - Imqarrun il-forn.

What would I do if I couldn’t buy a serving of Spanakopita?
I guess I would make Ma’s Spinach Appetizers.
This was one of those recipes she enjoyed on the Greek ship we travelled on when we were immigrating from Malta.

It is a bit of a job to make, as are all good things.
It also is open to variations, as are all good recipes.

If you want to avoid the phyllo sheets you could make

Want some starch to serve with the main course? Make either
or


Hints:

The filling can also be used as a dip. 
You might want to leave the egg out since it won’t get cooked.

Usually a box of phyllo has about 21 sheets.
If you want to just use one box, you could make the rolls with 4 instead of 5 sheets.
To keep the phyllo sheets from drying out while preparing the recipe, place a damp towel over the sheets you aren’t using at the time.

You can make the rolls ahead and freeze them up to 3 months for last minute entertaining.
Place them in a large freezer-weight resealable plastic bags, or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. 
Remove from them freezer 30 minutes before baking. 
Place on baking sheet and let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375º F and bake 25 minutes. 


Filling variations to add...
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon each of dried oregano and thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon each of garlic, oregano and pepper
1/4 Cup grated parmesan
chopped sundried tomatoes and black olives with a dash of oregano
roasted red peppers
crab meat
diced black olives

Filling variations to substitute...
shredded mozzarella
drained ricotta instead of cream cheese
broccoli with cream cheese and cheddar cheese
Of course you can make variations on the variations.

Shape variations:
You can make individual ones that are shaped like triangles. 
Instructions are inside the phyllo box.
The filling works well with puff pastry or crescent roll dough.
It won’t be as flaky if you use crescent roll dough.

Have extra spring roll or wonton wrappers? 
The recipe can be used to make about 100.
You could freeze them on a cookie sheet and then placed in freezer-weight resealable plastic bags to store  up to 3 months. 
Bake for 15 minutes at 375º F.

You can also place wonton wrappers in a mini-tart pan, and fill them with some filling.
Bake at 350º F for 18 - 20 minutes. 

You could also use your favourite pastry to make mini quiches with the spinach filling.


                        Spinach Appetizers

Makes 5 logs or 30 servings

Grease well a large cookie sheet.

Place in bowl and thaw
300 grams frozen chopped spinach
Squeeze dry and set aside. 

Cover with a damp towel
25 sheets frozen phyllo dough 
Let thaw and set aside.

Crumble into a measuring cup enough to make
1 1/2 Cups Feta Cheese, crumbled 

Finely chop
4 green onions (optional)

Have on hand
1/3 cup butter, melted

Place in large bowl 
1 egg 
the drained spinach
the chopped green onions
the crumbled feta cheese
250 grams cream cheese
the chopped green onions
the crumbled feta cheese 
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix until well blended.

Place a damp dish towel on a flat surface.
Place 2 phyllo sheets (one on top of the other) on the dish towel.
Brush the top sheet lightly with melted butter.
Top with 1 or 2 more phyllo sheet(s).
Brush the top sheet lightly with melted butter.
Top with 1 more phyllo sheet.
Spread 1/5 of the spinach mixture along one short side of the phyllo stack. 
Fold in the long sides of the phyllo stack.
Roll up from the filled short side to make a log. 
Place the log on the greased cookie sheet.
Brush the top of the log with some of the remaining butter. 

Repeat with remaining phyllo, filling and melted butter to make four more logs. 

Heat oven to 375º F
With a serrated knife deeply score the phyllo at 1 inch intervals.
Bake 25 minutes, or until golden brown. 
Cool 5 minutes. 
Transfer the rolls to cutting board.
Use the serrated knife to completely cut each log into 6 slices. 

3 comments:

  1. I'm such a klutz when it comes to working with phyllo Margaret, but oh my word, do I love Spanakopita and your recipe sounds wondrous! Save me one will ya, Margaret, heck, save me two or three, lol...

    Thanks for sharing Margaret and thank you for the Cookbook Wednesday link up:)

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  2. Would love to share a Spanakopita or two with you, Louise, but for now the recipe will have to do.

    Thanks for hosting Cookbook Wednesday. Your posts are always so interest! Hope you and Marion have a great weekend!

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  3. Thanks Margaret...we can always share together, virtually:)

    I picked Marion up from the hospital today. It will be a quiet weekend:) Enjoy yours too...

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