One of my favorite Greek foods is spanakopita, cheesy spinach filling inside layers of flaky phyllo pastry. I have always had a soft spot for it. But around 10 years ago I started doing a low-carb diet, and the phyllo pastry was a no-no on that diet. I decided to ditch that part of the recipe and just bake it in a pan, sort of the way you would do a quiche, and it turned out quite nicely. This is essentially all the flavor of the pastry wrapped appetizer, but made more like a crustless quiche.
I used to make this recipe with frozen chopped spinach but I don’t buy it that much anymore, although I have not sworn off using it. You could probably use two 10-ounce boxes of that, thawed and squeezed dry if you wish, but the fresh spinach is quite superior. I use three small bunches in this which came out to a pound.
You could also use bagged spinach in this, but I don’t see the point. They claim to wash it and charge double what it’s worth. But if you are going to rinse it anyway (and believe me you do NOT want to skip this step, especially if you purchase organic vegetables) and spend 5-10 minutes plucking off the stems (don’t include those, they can be quite tough and often stringy) I don’t see what the issue is to not use fresh bunches. When you do wash it, fill your plugged, clean kitchen sink with cold water, plenty enough to swish the spinach around to get the dirt off. Don’t use warm water as it prematurely wilts the leaves.
Crustless Greek Spinach Pie
1 pound fresh spinach, rinsed, stems removed, and coarsely chopped
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons fresh dill weed
3 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Thoroughly rinse spinach in deep water in the kitchen sink to remove any sand or grit; pinch off stems and discard.
3. Drain spinach and coarsely chop; if some water clings, that’s fine – you just don’t want it swimming. The little bit of water that clings will actually help the spinach to shrink down when it heats.
4. Heat oil in a large skillet and add chopped garlic, allowing to sizzle for a minute.
5. Add spinach, scallions, and dill weed; tossing a few times and covering with a lid just until it becomes dark green and compacts down (you don’t want it cooked – just wilted); drain spinach in a sieve.
6. Whisk eggs in a bowl and stir in the Parmesan and yogurt until smooth.
7. Add cooked spinach and feta cheese, gently tossing to mix.
8. Place ingredients in a glass pie plate that has been sprayed with nonstick or oiled lightly, spreading out the spinach so it does not clump.
9. Place pie plate on a drip pan (just in case) and bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes until lightly browned and set (test with a toothpick – it should come out with no raw egg).
10. Let cool 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
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