Spinach, Herbs & Mushroom Spanikopita
Spanikopita is a layered Greek delicacy, traditionally made with sautéed spinach, onions, and feta cheese, bracketed with a delicate crust of phyllo dough.
Phyllo dough tissue-thin, delicate dough typically made from wheat. It is used in layers, brushed with oil or butter and baked with various savory and sweet fillings. When purchasing phyllo dough, look at the ingredient list to avoid unhealthy fats and preservatives. There are some excellent natural and phyllo doughs on the market. A company called Fillo Factory (www.fillofactory.com) produces several choice products - one is made from organic wheat, another is made from organic whole wheat, and yet another using spelt.
Phyllo dough is generally sold frozen and must be thawed before using. Phyllo dough takes a little practice to handle well, which is quickly and deftly. The results cannot be trumped, yielding a delicious, flaky delicacy. Part of successfully using phyllo dough is not letting it dry out or get wet while you are working with it as each sheet needs to be brushed with oil when layering. If the sheets tear or break, it is fine, just piece them together the best you can, and make sure they are lightly but evenly brushed with oil. I recommend to have more olive oil than you think you need in a dish to brush with, to avoid the clumsy mess of having to pour more while your hands are full!
Yields: 12 servings
Spinach, Herb & Mushroom Filling:
2 cups nicely packed parsley leaves
2 cups nicely packed basil leaves
1/3 to ï¿½ cup loosely packed oregano leaves
4 cups nicely packed spinach leaves-
-Baby spinach is best as the stems are tender. If using a bunch of spinach, remove the stems and wash well and dry)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoon sea salt
8 ounces tofu (medium is best, firm may also be used)
1 tablespoon truffle oil (optional for truffle lovers)
2 medium red onions (1-1/2 to 3 cups)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups sliced mushrooms,
oyster mushrooms, chantrelle mushrooms or wild mushrooms are great, cremini, button or portabella are also good. A mixture of any and all is fantastic.
1 package organic phyllo dough- whole wheat or spelt is ideal
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Place the parsley, basil, and oregano leave in the food processor.
Chop finely and set aside in a large bowl. (No need to wash the food processor yet!). The spinach can be chopped in the food processor, though I find it better to chop a little more roughly by hand. Do as you please and mix together with chopped herbs.
Place the pine nuts, lemon juice, and sea salt (and truffle oil if desired)in the food processor. Blend until smooth. Cut tofu into 8 pieces and add to the pine nut mixture. Blend until smooth. Add this mixture to the herbs and spinach and fold to mix well.
Cut the ends off the onions and peel. Cut in half along the grain (versus across the layers). Place a half face-down on the cutting board. Cut into quarters along the grain and slice thinly across into ï¿½-inch pieces.
Warm 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and stir to coat with olive oil. Sautï¿½ for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally or until becoming soft and translucent. Add garlic and saute for 15-20 seconds. Add mushrooms and stir well to coat. Cook another 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until savory.
Fold the mushrooms and onions into the spinach mixture. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper as desired.
Follow Assembly directions using the Spinach-Mushroom mixture as the filling..
See sidebar for tips!
Place one sheet of phyllo dough in the bottom of a 9in-12in glass casserole dish. Brush lightly with olive oil. Place another sheet on top and brush again. Follow suit until you have 10 layers.
Spread the filling mixture evenly over the dough.
Lay another sheet of phyllo over the spinach mixture and brush with oil. Continue until you have another 10 layers.
Cover with foil tightly and bake at 350F for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Let stand 15 minutes to cool before serving
Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Reheat, uncovered in the oven at 350F until heated through.