Monday, March 14, 2011

Spinach & Feta Phyllo Triangles (Mini-Spanakopita)

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Spanakopita is a Greek spinach pie wrapped in phyllo with a filling of spinach, feta, scallions, and egg.  This triangular version is best served as an appetizer while traditional Spanakopita can be made as a pie served as a main course.

This appetizer version is one that is always served at my Ciocia Ella's Christmas Day dinner.  They are always delicious and a recipe I've wanted to learn how to make for some time.  This particular appetizer, while it's a bit time consuming, is a perfect make ahead item that can be frozen and popped in the oven to bake for only 15 minutes. 

Not only are they a convenient recipe, but they're also delicious.  They're filled with an assortment of fresh herbs as well as the traditional spinach and feta that creates a wonderful blend of flavors. These ingredients are carefully wrapped in phyllo dough- a treat in itself.  Anything with phyllo, is a dish worth making.  With it's flaky consistency, each bite melts in your mouth.  The butter gives it a beautiful golden finish and savory flavor that is impossible to resist.

While Spanakopita is traditionally made with Spinach and Feta, don't hold back your creativity with this dish.  You can fill these phyllo triangles with other wonderful assortments of flavor.  Next time I make these I'm going to fill them with my Mushroom and Chive Spread.  I also have a post I'll be adding soon with a creamy lobster and chive phyllo triangle recipe.  The possibilities are endless!


While this recipe may seem intimidating, use my step by step pictures to help eliminate the guess work and conquer this wonderful appetizer perfect for any occasion!  Hope you enjoy it!


Recipe Tips
  • These are a perfect appetizer to make ahead and freeze for later. If baking when frozen, bake for 15 minutes or until golden.
  • When working with Phyllo, make sure to always keep your phyllo covered with a piece of plastic and a damp towel. Phyllo cannot dry out or have direct contact with moister or it will become soggy.

    Start with warming your olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat and saute your scallions until soft:

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    Add your spinach and saute until wilted, stirring constantly: 

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    Then strain the liquid from your spinach mixture into a small bowl:

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    Transfer your liquid to a small saucepan and heat over high heat until it reaches a boil.  Boil until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons:

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    Transfer your spinach mixture to a bowl and add the parsley, dill, and feta cheese:


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    Add the 2 tablespoons of spinach liquid:

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    Then mix until combined:

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    Beat your egg in a separate bowl and add to your mixture:

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    Mix until combined:

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    To prepare your phyllo, carefully roll it out onto a clean surface.  Place the sheet of plastic your phyllo came wrapped in over the entire surface and cover with a damp towel.  When working with Phyllo, make sure to always keep the damp towel over the plastic to avoid drying it out.  Also, make sure the towel does not make direct contact with the phyllo or it will become soggy:

     
    Take one sheet of phyllo and lay it out on a clean surface:

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    Brush the entire surface with melted butter:

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    Then lay a second sheet of phyllo over the first:

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    Brush with additional butter:

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    Then cut your phyllo into 4 long strips:

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    I found it easiest to cut it in half and then cut the two halves in half again:

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    Then spoon 1 teaspoon of filling at the very beginning of your phyllo strip:


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    Lift your bottom right corner over and fold along the left side edge evenly.  Press down gently so your top is flat:

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    Then lift your triangle up so the bottom is sealed:

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    Then flip over to the right, making sure to stay in line along the edge of the phyllo:

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    Then flip up to the left:

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    Then flip up lining your straight edge along the left side:

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    Then flip to the right:

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    Then flip up staying along the right edge and continue flipping in these patterns until you reach the end:

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    Tuck the seam under and you have a perfect phyllo triangle:

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    Place your triangles on a greased cookie sheet and butter both sides:

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    Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown:


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    Spinach and Feta Phyllo Triangles (Mini-Spanakopita)
    Martha Stewart
    Makes: ~30 triangles
    Prep Time: 1 1/2 hours
    Cook Time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients
    1 package phyllo pastry
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1 bunch scallions, chopped
    2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
    1 bunch parsley
    1 bunch dill
    1/2 pound crumbled feta cheese
    3 eggs, lightly beaten
    1 pound (4 sticks) butter

    Directions
    Begin with preparing your ingredients by chopping your scallions, parsley, and dill.  Heat your olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat and saute your scallions until soft.  Add your spinach and saute until wilted, stirring constantly.  Then strain the liquid from your spinach mixture into a small bowl.

    Transfer your liquid to a small saucepan and heat over high heat until it reaches a boil.  Boil until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons.  Transfer your spinach mixture to a bowl and add the 2 tablespoons of spinach liquid, parsley, dill, feta cheese, and eggs.  Mix until combined. Beat your egg in a separate bowl and add to your mixture and mix until combined.

    To prepare your phyllo, carefully roll it out onto a clean surface.  Place the sheet of plastic your phyllo came wrapped in over the entire surface and cover with a damp towel.  When working with Phyllo, make sure to always keep the damp towel over the plastic to avoid drying it out.  Also, make sure the towel does not make direct contact with the phyllo or it will become soggy.

    Take one sheet of phyllo and lay it out on a clean surface.  Brush the entire sheet of phyllo with melted butter.  Then lay a second sheet of phyllo over the first and brush with additional melted butter. Then cut your phyllo into 4 long strips.  I found it easiest to cut it in half and then cut the two halves in half again.

    Then spoon 1 teaspoon of filling at the very beginning of your phyllo strip.  Lift your bottom right corner over and evenly fold along the left side to create a clean edge.  Press down gently so your top is flat: Then flip up, then flip to the right, to the left, up again, and continue these steps until you reach the end of your phyllo.  When making your triangle, always try and keep your edges lined up to create a clean triangle.  When you reach the end, tuck your remaining edge under and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Brush your triangles with melted butter on both sides and bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
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    32 comments:

    1. Looks wonderful, I've always wondered how they wrap those triangles, thanks for the step by step instructions!

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    2. Loving all the step by stpe pics!! I can only imagine the many different flavors combinations, but I think I'll start with these ;)

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    3. Yum, my mom just made something very similar to this a few months ago and it was delicious. This looks amazing!

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    4. A favorite - gorgeous step by step!!

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    5. I love this - I'm a sucker for anything wrapped in Phyllo Dough...

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    6. Spinach and feta is possibly the perfect combination. Yum. x

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    7. Mmm, phyllo. These look so gorgeously wrapped. I know it can be a beast to work with...nice job!

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    8. Ooh, I'd love a plate of those for dinner...lovely recipe!

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    9. These look delicious -- great pics! Theresa

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    10. Wow these look delicious! When I was in Greece, Spanakopita was on every street corner and was amazing! Definitely need to try this recipe!

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    11. I love spanakopita, and these triangles look delicious! I can't wait to see your lobster version. :) As always, your step by step photos are amazing and I look forward to trying this recipe!

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    12. Yummmyyyy! By far my favorite..love this and how you made them! Awesome photos!!!

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    13. These are my favorite appetizers when my mom makes them! trust me everyone will love them and hope that you serve them each time that they come over. instant crowd pleaser, not even pleaser but lover!

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    14. OHHHHH I love Phyllo! These sound delicious Chelsea!

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    15. I have got to try these. I have never worked with phyllo dough but my BF loves spinach (though Im not sure he's ever had Spanakopita)

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    16. Chelsea, your phyllo triangles look outstanding! I could have them for lunch and dinner!
      :-) Mandy

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    17. These look great Chelsea. We make these in Turkey but they are known as Muska Böreği. I love feta cheese and spinach together.

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    18. These look absolutely gorgeous and delish!!!

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    19. I just made a spanakopita pizza last night, and it was amazing. I added some roasted red peppers on top, and some red pepper flakes. Yum

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    20. Yum! I have never used phyllo dough but these look very enticing...I love the Greek twist!

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    21. We fight over the Armenian version of these when my mom makes them. I love the way yours look with the spinach (we just have cheese). Great instructions on how to make the triangle too.

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    22. The step by step instructions are really useful. I love these but i've never made them before.

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    23. Hi Chelsea,

      Great recipe and excellent step-by-step guide to making classic Spanakopita!

      Did you use The Fillo Factory refrigerated or frozen fillo dough? We also make whole-wheat and spelt varieties! If you're interested, you can check out photos of most all of our fillo-filled, vegetarian line at our new Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/f03516. We also make frozen Spanakopita appetizers (just like yours!) for when you're short on time.

      Anyway, we found you through Twitter (@FilloFactory) and had to stop by and say hi. Looks delicious!

      Cheers,
      The Fillo Factory

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    24. do you use the egg to brush the dough or do you mix it with the spinach?

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    25. @ Anonymous: You use your egg in the spinach mixture and brush the dough with melted butter. Thanks for catching my typo!! :)

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    26. If you plan on freezing them, do you brush them with butter before freezing or just before you are going to bake them?

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      Replies
      1. I would brush them with butter before baking them. Good luck!

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    27. I love these. I think I will try a little pulled grilled chicken with this mixture and a salad and make it a quick easy dinner. Uuuuuummmmmmm

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