I know what you’re thinking.
Guh! That’s alotta vowels!
Amazing, huh? I even got the guh! Turns out officially becoming a grad student–I’m all registered for classes and I even bought school supplies, which manifests itself in a few blissful hours at Staples and is pretty much on par with Christmas–endows me with all kinds of intellectual importantosity, like the ability to read minds and make up words like importantosity. AND USE THEM.
So, for those of you with Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia (that, actually, is a real word… look it up and bask in the irony!), let me break down the word spanakopitakia for you.
The first part of the word comes from spanaki, which is Greek for spinach.
In the middle is pita, which means pie.
In Greek, there are several suffixes that mean “little.” One of them is aki. So, here, we add aki to refer to the fact that these are little spinach pies themselves, as opposed to a whole pie tin of spanakopita cut up into pieces.
Last, the a at the end makes it plural. Instead of one little spinach pie, you get several. And several is always better when it comes to little spinach pies.
Now that we’ve gone all Schoolhouse-Rock (you know you heard all that as a song!) on the name, what the heck are spanakopitakia? They’re cute little phyllo triangles filled with spinach and feta. Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and jam-packed with zesty flavor, these little guys will, as promised, rock your κάλτσες off.
Σπανακόπιτακια – Spanakopita Phyllo Triangles
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound fresh baby spinach
3/4 pound feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
10 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
Melt one tablespoon butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, add onions and garlic and saute for a minute, then cook spinach, stirring, until wilted and tender, an additional 4 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, about 10 minutes.
Press mixture in mesh colander (or wring in cheesecloth) to remove as much liquid as possible (I find this more necessary with baby spinach than the heartier stuff, which left almost no excess liquid), then coarsely chop.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in feta and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let filling cool.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Melt butter in a small saucepan, then cool. Cover phyllo stack with 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap and then a dampened kitchen towel.
Take one phyllo sheet from stack and arrange on a work surface with a long side nearest you (keeping remaining sheets covered) and brush with some butter. Top with another phyllo sheet and brush with more butter. Cut buttered phyllo stack crosswise into 6 (roughly 12- by 2 3/4-inch) strips.
Put a heaping teaspoon of filling near one corner of a strip on end nearest you, then fold corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding strip (like a flag), maintaining triangle shape.
Put triangle, seam side down, on a large baking sheet and brush top with butter. Make more triangles in same manner, using all of phyllo.
Bake triangles in middle of oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool slightly. Makes 30 pastries.
And the best part of this cooking experience? At one point, I was in the middle of wrapping up the filling inside the phyllo when my mom called for help with another dish. Without thinking, I said, “Just a minute, mom, I’m all tangled up in phyllo dough!” She instantly started laughing, and it took me a second to realize why:
I was literally wrapped in phyllo dough. 😀
Give this recipe a try, folks! It’s a great impressive-looking dish that, while time-consuming, is relatively easy to put together and tastes amazing.