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Spanakopita
Common all over Greece, stuffed filo pastries make a memorable meze, or appetizer. These small triangles are stuffed with feta and spinach. You might also see them stuffed with feta and herbs, or with lamb and spices and rolled into cigar shapes or tied like knots. Serve these pastries with a glass of ouzo over ice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. spinach, tough stems removed,
      coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated kefalotiri, Parmigiano-
      Reggiano or pecorino cheese
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 lb. filo dough (20 sheets), thawed if frozen
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Directions:

Heat a large fry pan over medium-high heat. Add the spinach with only the rinsing water clinging to the leaves, cover and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain well on paper towels, then squeeze out as much of the remaining liquid as possible. Place in a large bowl and add the feta cheese, kefalotiri cheese, eggs, mint, and nutmeg. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

Lightly butter a baking sheet. Cut the stack of filo sheets lengthwise into 3 equal strips. Remove 1 strip and cover the remaining filo with a slightly dampened kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out. Place the strip on a work surface and brush lightly with melted butter. Place another strip on top. Brush the second strip lightly with melted butter. Place a heaping teaspoonful of the filling about 1 inch in from the bottom of the strip. Fold the uncovered end over the filling on the diagonal to form a triangular shape. Bring the bottom of the triangle up against the straight edge. Continue folding in this manner until the tip of the strip is reached, forming a triangular pastry. Brush lightly with melted butter. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining filo and filling.

Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a platter. Serve immediately, warm or at room temperature.
Makes 30 triangles; serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Small Plates, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1998).