I found this recipe sitting among a large stack of Cooks Illustrated magazines. As usual, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted a spanakopita to be: crisp with a well-seasoned filling. Until stumbling upon this recipe, my spanakopita filling always seemed a bit bland and I wasn’t quite sure how to fix it. CI’s addition of mint, yogurt, and nutmeg is really nice. Those folks tend to take things to a whole new level. This recipe is incredibly easy to make, too!
If you’re like me, you avoided Greek food for many years after that week-long ouzo bender that ended with us waking up in the labyrinth at Knossos being chased by the Minotaur.
What’s more, ouzo is gross. Who ever said, “If only we could get rocked on 80-proof black licorice, then learn that while we were blitzed, our smartarse sculptor friends made statues out of us, only naked, and with no arms and tiny junk.” The Greeks did, that’s who.
So you can imagine my reluctance to try spanakopita. Well, I’m happy to report that it’s FANTASTIC. Absolutely no ouzo, but plenty of healthy spinach, feta, lemon juice, and filo dough (as in, “Filo it under ‘F’ for freakin’ delicious”). Not only was my spanakopita experience a taste awakening, but it was also happily free of both Minotaurs and nude statues.
PRO TIP: If you don’t want to make Bleu Legume’s recipe, and can’t find spanakopita in stores or restaurants, remember that the Romans were famous for changing the names of Greek things. So just as Zeus became Jupiter and Aphrodite became Venus, so spanakopita lives on today in many parts of the world as “flaky feta spinach sliders¹.”
¹ Epicitus’s Enchiridion, circa 125 AD
- 16 ounce frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
- 12 ounce feta, crumbled
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 4 medium scallions, thinnly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced
- 2 Tablespoons fresh dill, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 8 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 pound phyllo (14" x 9") thawed
- 1 - 2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
- Pre-heat oven to 425F.
- Cook the spinach in the microwave until it's just warmed through, about 2 - 3 minutes. Place the spinach in a strainer, pressing down on the spinach to release as much of the liquid as possible. Mix the drained spinach and all other filling ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
- Line a 9 x 13 rimmed baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper. Brush the parchment with butter and lay down the first sheet of phyllo. Brush the phyllo with butter, and layer on another sheet of phyllo. Repeat buttering and layering with 10 total layers of phyllo.
- Spread the spinach mixture over the phyllo, leaving a 1/4" border on all sides. Cover spinach mixture with 6 more sheets of phyllo, brushing each with butter and sprinkling each with Pecorino cheese. Finish layering the remaining sheets of phyllo on top, brushing each just with butter before layering the next.
- Starting from the center and working outward, use palms of your hands to compress the layers and press out any air pockets.
- Use a sharp knife to score the top three layers of phyllo into 24 equal pieces.
- Bake until phyllo is golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet 10 minutes to 2 hours. Cut into squares and serve.
You are going to want a good chef’s knife for this recipe. It might take about 15 minutes to chop the cabbage by hand. While it does take some added time and effort, it produces a rougher uneven chop that gives an interesting texture to the salad.
This has been a go-to recipe for many summer picnics over the years. Try it with some Korean BBQ! Enjoy!
- 1 head green cabbage
- 1 head red cabbage
- 8 carrots
- 10 - 12 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup butter
For the dressing:
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 6 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- In a 12-inch skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Mix in almonds and sesame seeds. Cook until browned, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Remove from heat. Set aside to cool until it reaches room temperature.
- Clean, then cut each cabbage in half from top to bottom through the core. Next, cut each cabbage half from top to bottom, through the core. Remove the core from each quarter. Slice each quarter thinly. This will produce a bunch of long shreds. Finally, run your knife crosswise through the shreds to shorten them. Toss it all into a large bowl.
- Clean and shred the carrots on a box grater. Add them to the bowl of cabbage.
- Clean and thinly slice the scallions. Add them to the bowl of cabbage.
- Toss the cabbage mixture until the vegetables are evenly distributed. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside.
- Just before serving re-whisk the dressing and toss together the shredded cabbage mixture, almond mixture, and dressing.
She Says: I like making these because the recipe is four-ingredient simple and non-fussy. Prep is easy because the potatoes don’t need to be peeled.
For best results, use fresh parsley; it makes a world of difference over the dried stuff. And do not use a non-stick skillet because you want the potatoes to get crispy and brown in spots. While the recipe calls for small, red potatoes, Yukon gold, fingerling, or petite potatoes would work equally well.
He Says: There have been many famous spuds throughout history: NBA point guard Anthony Jerome “Spud” Webb, Bud Lite mascot Spuds MacKenzie, and early Soviet satellite Spudnik (which was built entirely from potatoes, and which distilled itself into ultra-flammable vodka to reach escape velocity). And although Bleu Legume’s parsley spuds aren’t a household name yet, they’re rising stars. I’d suggest getting their rookie card — it’ll be worth something someday.
- 2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Clean potatoes and boil until tender, about 20 minutes.
- Cut potatoes in half.
- Melt butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, cut side down. Cook until brown, about 5 - 10 minutes. Stir, and brown for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Sprinkle salt and parsley over potatoes.
Simply put: caramelized onion, garlic, and tomatoes. Though the recipe has no traditional Indian spices, I call it a chutney because it seems closer to that than a relish.
This can be used in a multitude of ways. Serve it alongside scrambled eggs, grilled swordfish, or roasted chicken. Use it as a filling for omelettes. Spread it on toast. It could even be mixed in with some pasta and topped with chopped basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Use it as a topping for focaccia. Spread it on a breakfast sandwich or add it to grilled cheese…
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, either diced or thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 29-ounce can diced tomatoes (or 2 pounds fresh)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
- Add onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes
- Reduce heat to medium low. Stir in brown sugar. Continue to cook onions until they become caramelized, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add tomatoes and salt. Increase heat to medium. Cook until thickened, about 20 minutes.
This is my momma’s stuffing recipe. Though she tried various additions over her many decades of making it (mushrooms, oysters, etc.), this was her ultimate recipe that always made it to the Thanksgiving table year after year. Although admittedly biased, I just can’t imagine a stuffing recipe that tops either my mom’s or grandma’s.
1 box Uncle Ben’s Original Recipe Long Grain and Wild Rice
1 12-ounce bag Pepperidge Farm stuffing cubes
4 Tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely diced
3 stalks celery, finely diced
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups poultry stock (or broth)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Cook rice according to package directions.
- Using a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and celery, cooking until onion is translucent and begins to brown.
- Pour stuffing cubes into a large mixing bowl. Add rice, onion-celery mixture, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, and stock. Mix together well.
- Place stuffing into the baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
One Thanksgiving about 10 years ago in my misguided youth, I was intent on creating a delicious and overly complicated stuffing. I can’t remember the exact ingredients (pancetta, fresh herbs, chestnuts, and load of other items since forgotten. Prunes, I think…). It was a recipe that was both needlessly complicated and expensive. The result was good, but not great. It then occurred to me: some things don’t need to be complicated to be great. Take my grandma’s stuffing for instance. It uses a handful of ingredients you probably already have on hand. It is buttery, moist, and simply seasoned. It’s also one of my all-time favorites — both because it’s her recipe and because it’s just plain good.
Grandma Wable’s Bread Stuffing
- 2 pounds bread
- 2 cups milk
- 6 eggs
- 8 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Melt butter, set aside
- Cut bread into cubes
- Using a medium bowl, beat eggs. Stir in milk, salt, and pepper. Whisk in butter.
- Add milk mixture to bread cubes. Mix thoroughly
- Place stuffing into into baking disk. Cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches about 160 degrees.
Cranberry sauce is so simple; there’s really no reason to have it only once a year. Boil cranberries in a thick simple syrup. Add a little orange zest and a bit of lemon juice and it’s done!
Continue reading Cranberry Sauce
She says: Hummus. This stuff is glorious in all of it’s forms. My favorite is the following with kalamata olives. If you’d like a basic hummus, omit the olives.
Continue reading Hummus with Kalamata Olives
We serve this mango salsa with our Fish Tacos. It’s also great served alongside a spicy grilled chicken or pork!
- 2 mangoes, peeled and diced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 6 scallions, sliced thinly
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Toss the mangoes, jalapeno, scallions, lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro into a bowl. Mix well.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.