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Spanakopita (Greek spinach pie)

April 23, 2008

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Serves 10

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, melted, or more if needed
2 1/4 pounds fresh spinach, stems removed
1 onion, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon dried mint
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound imported feta cheese, crumbled
1 package fillo dough, at room temperature
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Using the melted butter, butter a 10-by-15-inch baking dish.

2. Rinse and dry the spinach, removing as much moisture as possible (use paper towels, if necessary). Tear the leaves into small pieces.

3. In a large bowl, combine the spinach, onion, salt, pepper, mint, eggs, olive oil, and feta. Mix well.

4. Lay the fillo dough on the counter. Have the melted butter and a brush nearby. Working quickly, lift off 1 sheet from the stack of fillo and lay it in the bottom of the baking dish. Don't worry if the sheet has a small tear or two. Scrunch any excess dough into the sides of the pan, forming a thicker "wall" around the edges. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the top sheet with melted butter. Lay another sheet on top and brush again with butter. Repeat until you've used about 10 sheets.

5. Spread the spinach filling evenly over the sheets, pressing lightly to compact it slightly. Smooth the top.

6. In the same way you made the bottom layer, make the top crust, brushing butter between each sheet. Continue until you have used about 8 more sheets.

7. Cut two slits through the top crust for steam to escape. Using your fingers, sprinkle the top lightly with cold water. Transfer the pie to the oven. Bake it for 45 to 60 minutes or until it is golden brown. Serve hot or warm, cut into squares. Bette Novicki