I love and I mean LOVE Spinach. This dish takes it to a whole other level. My version uses 3 levels of phyllo pastry also spelled filo or fillo. Seasoned spinach that has the taste and aroma of onions, dill, and feta cheese in between crispy flakiness. One bite and you will be hooked for life. Serve as an excellent appetizer or if you are me 🙂 HAHA You will eat this for dinner. My recipe has been twinked over the years placing it as one of my go to recipes for small and large occasions.
I will never forget the first time I tried this, a good friend of mine was having an open house and this was one of the many appetizers. I am so glad it was since the flavor party I had on my palate was out of this world. This is a beautiful Flaky Greek savory pastry. Up until this day, I was “NOT” a DILL lover but in this dish??? OH YEH!! It mixes so well with the other ingredients and actually enhances them. It adds to the senses so much that leaving it out would be almost WRONG!! So do not leave it out! You will be so sorry you did. I actually use dill weed more often now in recipes and you will too after having this.
Phyllo is a pastry that is paper thin, light and when baked extremely flaky. I prefer to make many dough’s but trust me, this one I will leave alone. It is very labor intensive. Laminate dough’s are worth it to me but this one?? No way!!!! The Athens brand is perfect and can be found in the freezer section by puff pastry and desserts. Not overly expensive and so easy to use. In a section below, I will give you tips on how to work with this dough. It comes in the shapes of cups, and sheets. The sheets are what we are using in this recipe.
Below I have my double layer version and what to do if you plan to make this in a single layer version. When I first had this, it was in a single layer and when I did my changes over the years adding the middle layer of phyllo dough really made this even more inviting so choose whichever way you want to do this just have fun with it. I also started using phyllo dough more often as well and you will to for other purposes – it is just to fun to work with not to 🙂
Things You Will Need:
Medium Sauce Pan
Fine Mesh Colander
1 Large Mixing Bowl
1 Small Mixing Bowl
1 Chopping Knife
1 Chef’s Knife
Food Chopper (like the one shown) or Food Processor with S Blade
Large 10×13 2 inches Deep Minimum Pan or if making half this recipe any pan that would accommodate the size of the pastry sheets
1 Medium Fry Pan
1 Wooden Spoon
Trivet or Hot Pad (for sauce pan in work area)
- 2 Large Bags of Frozen Chopped Spinach or 2 Boxes of Frozen Chopped Spinach Drained and ALL Fluid Compressed Out!!
- 1 large Bunch of Fresh Parsley (NOT DRY MUST BE FRESH) Chopped Fine
- 2 Tablespoons Dry Dill Weed or (1 Small Bunch Fresh Dill Chopped Fine)
- 1 Teaspoon White Pepper
- 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 Bunch Green Onions Chopped (clean off tip of bulb and dry ends – discard)
- 1 Medium White Onion Chopped Fine
- 1 Tablespoon Light Olive Oil
- 3 Eggs Beaten Lightly
- 2 Small or 1 large Crumbled Feta Cheese about 1 Pound total for this exact recipe
- ¾ Cup Light Olive Oil
- 2 Sticks Salted Butter
- More Salt and Pepper to taste (be sure to taste before adding egg)
Preheat Oven to 350° F
Thaw frozen spinach using the fine mesh colander with fingers press out all moisture you can. If moisture still present, use paper towels. Lay out spinach between layers and press on towels to expel any moisture.
After spinach is drained and all the moisture is pressed out, add it to large mixing bowl separate it and add dry dill if using, mix with fingers.
Using cutting board and knife, chopper or food processor fitted with S blade, chop and clean green onion as shown, if using, finely chop fresh dill. Finely chop parsley, place in the bowl with the spinach.
Add pepper and salt and mix well. Place aside for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to mix. Notice in the pictures you want to discard green onion bulb root and parsley “long” stems.
I used a chopper as pictured and makes quick work of this task
Definitely one of my must haves in the kitchen and if you do not have one yet?? GET ONE!!! Nice and easy to clean for small jobs like this one not to mention very affordable.
While the spinach is fermenting all those flavors, place 1 tablespoon olive oil in fry pan. Finely chop the white onion and place in fry pan, turn on heat to medium/low – sauté using wooden spoon until golden as shown. Place aside and let cool to touch.
In small bowl lightly beaten eggs place aside.
Once the white onions are golden, cool to touch and add them to the spinach mixture. Add feta cheese and mix well. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Add the beaten eggs and mix well with hands or wooden spoon. (I use my hands)
In sauce pan place the larger amount of olive oil and butter. Low heat melt the butter and oil together until butter is melted do not bring this to boil just enough until butter is melted and mixture is warm.
Set up your work space with spinach mixture, phyllo dough, sauce pan with olive oil/butter mixture and pastry brush. Remember to use your hot pad or trivet for the sauce pan.
Preheat your oven to 350°F
Be sure to read Tips : Working with Phyllo Doughs below before beginning these next steps
Using pastry brush prepare pan as shown with warmed olive oil/butter mixture. Lightly coat bottom and sides of pan with pastry brush.
For Two Layer Version as shown:
Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough in the pan – I start on 1 corner of the pan, making sure not to have it ride up the sides. Brush a thin layer of oil/butter mixture and lay the next sheet in the opposite corner again brushing it with the oil mixture. Now move to the other corners and do the same. Continue this until you use ½ of the first roll and the entire bottom of the pan is covered.
If a piece of the phyllo dough tears apart from the sheet?? No worries – you can place it anywhere and when it bakes it will never be seen.
On top of the layers of phyllo dough, place ½ of the spinach mixture on top and spread out evenly using fingers or spoon – be sure to spread it out. It will be a thin layer.
Start again with the phyllo dough brushing each piece with oil mixture. This time you are going to use the rest of this roll and open the second roll and use ¼ of the next roll.
Add the second layer of the spinach mixture and spread it out like you did on the first layer.
Add the last layer of phyllo dough as you did before finishing off the remainder of the last roll.
Brush the entire top one more time before getting ready to cut the triangles.
Using the chef knife, cut with the length of the pan long horizontal cuts. Be sure to cut through the bottom layer. 2 long cuts. Your knife must be sharp!!!! Wipe off your knife between cuts.
Turn the pan and cut diagonally to the width you want – shown is 4 cuts. Cut each of the squares into diamond shapes as seen. It should be about 24-26 pieces – a few I left in the rectangle size since, I did tell you I eat this for dinner 🙂 HA HA
Place in oven and bake until top is golden brown and it is bubbling in the seams – the layers will be flaky – about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Keep an eye on this in the last 15 minutes depending on your oven.
Single Layer Version:
There are only a few differences from the single layer version and that of two layer version.
Only 1 package of phyllo dough is used – ½ for the top and ½ for the bottom and all the filling is placed evenly in between. If you choose this be sure to only remove 1 package when thawing and keep the other roll in the box in the freezer. I have removed the roll and froze it as is and this adds to much moisture to the roll so keep it in the box!!
Tips : Working with Phyllo Doughs:
- Keep packages sealed until ready to use and if making this amount open only 1 package at a time.
- Dampen (not dripping) paper towels with water to keep open rolls of pastry moist and from drying out. This step only do if you are working slowly, the longer the pastry sheets are exposed to air they will dry out to brittle pieces. Open the wetted towels, and lay them over the plastic divider sheet provided in the package. DO NOT let the wet towels actually touch the dough, just allow it to provide a moisture guard.
- Using a scissors cut off both ends off one roll and unroll the dough, lay it on the plastic provided. Cutting the ends makes this easer to accomplish. It has an inner piece of plastic as well so be sure to use this if adding a moisture guard or use a piece of plastic wrap.
- Remember to only take one sheet at a time and work quickly, 2 sheets will cause slipping while laying them on each other. ALWAYS Brush phyllo with whatever you are using to dampen the layers before laying another piece on top.
- Other types of mixtures to use for layering phyllo can be, olive oil and butter as shown here, straight olive oil, or just butter. It really depends on the type of dish you are making savory or sweet and should always be warmed.
- Do not worry if a sheet breaks you will not notice this in the finished product, just lay the piece in and continue with the next sheet.
- Thawing in the refrigerator is the best way to thaw the pastry. If you decide to thaw on the counter you take the risk of pieces sticking to each other which will make it harder and they will break more often. I take it out of the freezer and place in the refrigerator 2 days before use.