My sister’s birthday today. I picked her kids up from school and we went home and made her some dinner before E’s soccer game. She has always loved spanikopita, so I made some in small packet form she could eat on the couch while we stirred the risotto – she has always been a fan of creamy, seafood-y things (her birthday dinner of choice years ago was the Seafood St. Jacques that came baked in a half shell at Mother Tucker’s) so I made seafood risotto, adding scallops and shrimp at the end rather than shrimp and spinach. Damn, I could have used the shrimp stock I had in the freezer! (Anytime I peel shrimp I pile up their shells in a saucepan, cover them with water and simmer for a few minutes, until I have a bright pink stock. There aren’t a whole lot of uses for shrimp stock though, except seafood chowder or a big noodle bowl… or shrimp risotto.)
Mom brought over one of those DQ cakes with chemically frosting but that awesome chocolate crunchy stuff inside that we ate after the game.
Spanakopita (Spinach & Feta) Triangles
1 pkg. phyllo pastry, thawed (you’ll need 12-16 sheets)
1/4 cup melted butter, canola or olive oil, or a combination
1 tsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 oz.)
1 large egg
Salt & pepper to taste
In a medium skillet set over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add spinach and cook until moisture has evaporated. Transfer to a bowl and cool slightly. Stir in feta, egg, salt and pepper and some fresh dill or mint if you like.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Take two sheets of phyllo and stack them on a clean work surface; cover the rest with a tea towel so it doesn’t dry out. Brush the phyllo very lightly with butter. (A trick I use to apply the butter sparingly is to dip the brush in warm water, then squeegee it out well with my fingers. That way when I dip it into the butter it only sits on the surface, rather than saturating the bristles with butter.)
Cut the sheet in half lengthwise and then again into quarters so you have 4 long strips. Place a spoonful of filling at one end of each strip and fold the corner over it diagonally. Continue folding the strip as if you were folding a flag, maintaining the triangle shape.
Repeat with the remaining phyllo and filling, placing the packets seam side down on a baking sheet. (They can be prepared up to this point and frozen in a single layer and then transferred to a plastic bag. Pop them out of the freezer and bake them frozen.)
If there is any butter left, use it to brush the tops of the triangles, or spray them with some nonstick spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.
Makes 2-2 1/2 dozen triangles.
Per triangle (based on 2 dozen): 69 calories, 4 g total fat (2.1 g saturated fat, 1.1 g monounsaturated fat, 0.5 g polyunsaturated fat), 2.1 g protein, 6.5 g carbohydrate, 19 mg cholesterol, 0.5 g fiber. 51% calories from fat
Chicken, Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomato and Feta Triangles: add 1/2 cup chopped roasted chicken and 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil or soaked in water) to the spinach mixture.