The first time I ever tried spanakopita I knew i was in love. Maybe it was the fact that it came from such a romantic and exotic land :Greece, or maybe it was the crispy skin encasing the oh-so- fragrant mixture of spinach, feta cheese and spices, but whatever it was that struck me down from the beginning has held me captive to this dish ever since. I adore spanakopita, and although it's not exactly fat free, I do try and indulge just a little as often as I can.

Yield: approximately 40 triangles
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions, white and green parts
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pounds fresh baby spinach, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 12 ounces crumbled feta
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pound phyllo pastry sheets
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped oregano
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and place over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for 3 minutes until soft. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and continue to saute until the spinach is limp, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice, remove from heat and place in a colander, and squeeze out excess liquid. Set aside to cool. The filling needs to be cool and dry to prevent the phyllo from becoming soggy. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with feta, coriander, and nutmeg. Season, then fold in the cooled spinach mixture until well blended.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, brush 2 baking sheets with some melted butter. Unroll the phyllo dough and lay a sheet flat on a work surface. Take care to keep the phyllo covered with a damp, not wet, towel as you work to prevent drying out and becoming brittle. Brush the sheet with melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with some oregano and chives. Repeat with 2 more sheets of phyllo, stacking on top of each other. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the sheets lengthwise into thirds to form 2 1/2-inch strips. Do this with all the sheets of dough.

Place a heaping teaspoon of filling near 1 corner of the layered phyllo strip. Fold the end at an angle over the filling to form a triangle. Continue to fold the triangle along the strip until you reach the end, like folding up a flag. Brush the top with butter and dust with Parmesan, place on prepared baking sheet, and cover while preparing the remaining pastries. Repeat until all the filling and phyllo strips are used up. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until the triangles are crisp and golden. Serve hot, warm or cold.
2009 Wienzer Krems Niederösterreich Grüner Veltliner
I had a nice white Santorini ready for this dish; Sandra likes to make it from scratch and sometime, when I'm single, I buy the frozen version from Costco. However, I opened the bottle only to discover it was oxidized. OK; backup plan. I always keep a bottle of Grüner Veltliner in my cellar. We love this wine. I met it the first time in its homeland: Austria, where I lived for 4 years. GV is the most prominent Austrian wine, and its white peppery profile makes it a vegetable friendly wine. It will work also with wine killer veggies like asparagus and artichokes, as well as shrimps and poultry.
Tasting Notes:
Pale straw color with green hues. The nose opens with dominant apricots, then sweet herbs and citrus comes from in the back door. Lemon driven palate that shows a nice minerality too. It also has an herbaceous profile along with white pepper and raw almond. Medium bodied and crisp, it lacks a bit of elegance and it finishes a bit short, but it's overall enjoyable (retail $8.99 - AVIN2231913518384).

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