I love small plates, family style dinners because they offer variety to suit all tastes, can easily be scaled up or down to accommodate unplanned dinner guests, and allow you to experiment with different recipes and cuisines. One of my favorite house dinners this past year was our Greek inspired night: spanakopita (spinach phyllo pie), avgolemono soup (greek chicken lemon soup), roasted eggplant dip, and toasted pita. The spanakopita looks super impressive but is simple to prepare with the help of olive oil spray, and I promise the phyllo dough isn’t as difficult to work with as everyone makes it out to be! It just takes a little bit of practice, like anything else. The spinach filling is jazzed up with the addition of feta and golden raisins, which give it a nice sweetness in contrast to the savory garlic and spinach. Other great additions to round out this meal include roasted eggplant dip, marinated peppers, celery and orange salad, spicy carrot salad and melon with honeyed yogurt, which all come from the June 2009 Everyday Food magazine!
Adapted from Martha Stewart
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- olive oil cooking spray
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 packages (20 ounces each) baby spinach
- 1 cup crumbled feta (4 ounces)
- 1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 20 sheets frozen phyllo dough (from an 8-ounce package), thawed and cut to 8 by 12 inches
In a medium pan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl. Return pan to heat. Working in batches, cook spinach, tossing, until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain spinach and let cool. Press out excess moisture, then roughly chop. Add spinach, feta, and raisins to bowl with onion and season filling with salt and pepper. (To store, refrigerate, up to 2 days.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll phyllo. Place 1 sheet on a work surface (keep remaining sheets covered with a damp kitchen towel to prevent drying); spray with oil. Lay another sheet on top and spray with oil. Repeat until you have 10 layers of phyllo.
I served it with Avgolemono soup too: