This is the book that everyone has thought about writing based on their mother’s or their grandma’s out-of-this-world recipes but has not yet written. I did it for all of us out there who simply don’t have the time, the energy, the patience, the wherewithal, nor the skills to take on such a passion project. This cookbook is a gift to all of you. I also did it for my mama’s legacy.
Call me selfish, but I want someone to pick up this cookbook—say 500 years from now—and make her recipes, which I know will stand the test of time. Her meals are magical. Delicious. Palatable. Full of life. My 88-year-old mother lives for kitchen-table visits from hungry strangers from all walks of life just for the pleasure of stuffing their bellies with her exceptional fare until they can’t eat any more.
So for one year, I braved a series of intense hands-on cooking demos with my Greek mama to capture an oral history of her gastronomical treasure trove. And the result is My Big Fat Greek Cookbook. With that in mind, I present to you four simple, mouth-watering meals. Remember, this is just a taste of my mother’s cooking prowess . . . You’ll just have to pick up the cookbook to find out how it all ends. With eighteen dessert recipes, of course.
Enjoy spanakopitakia (baby cousins of the spinach pie) on the go as a mid-morning or midday snack. Combine it with any Greek dip—tzatziki, skordalia, tarama, tirokafteri or melitzanosalata—for a colorful rainbow of delights.
Recipe: Spinach Pie Triangles (Spanakopitakia)
Prep: 1 h
Bake: 30 min
Ready in: 1 h 30 min
For the filling:
- 10 ounces (284 grams) spinach
- 10 scallion shoots
- 2 cups freshly chopped dill
- 1 cup freshly crumbled feta cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
For the phyllo pastry:
- 16 ounces (454 grams) phyllo dough sheets
- Olive oil
1. Bring a large stockpot of water to a hard boil.
2. Wash the spinach, scallions, and dill. Do not cut the spinach. Chop the scallions into 1/3-inch bits. Rinse the feta through a strainer to wash off the brine and set aside.
3. Toss the scallions and dill into the boiling pot of water. Boil for 2 minutes before adding in the spinach. Stir and boil for another 2 minutes. Thoroughly strain the greens through a colander, and let stand before placing into a large mixing bowl. Crack in the eggs, and toss in the crumbled feta. Combine the olive oil, salt, and pepper, then mix.
4. Lay out the phyllo dough sheets onto a large cutting board and slice 3-inch-wide strips. Cover the strips with a towel so they don’t dry up. Brush each strip with olive oil, piling 3 strips for use per triangle. Drop a tablespoonful of spinach filling onto the bottom edge of the strips and fold the phyllo over like folding a flag. Repeat with remaining spinach filling and phyllo, and arrange the triangles onto a well-buttered baking sheet. Brush the triangles with olive oil.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) on the convection setting. Bake the spanakopitakia for 15 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. (See Conversion Charts at back of book if you have a conventional oven.) Cool and serve with a dip.
Like this recipe as much as we do? Click here to purchase a copy of “My Big Fat Greek Cookbook: Classic Mediterranean Soul Food Recipes.”