A friend S. told me today that I hadn’t updated in a while and really should see to my absence. Unacceptable. I sputtered, considering all the usual excuses. I’ve been sick all week. I’m so busy. I have needy students, a dog desperate for exercise, books piling up that need reading, but she was right. I just needed the text, and lord knows I’m not short on text. I talk text in my sleep. Which I’ve been getting a lot of lately, what with being sick.
The point is, she guilted me like a Greek Grandmother. Appropriately enough, my response is Spanikopita!
It was one of those brilliant flashes of leftover magic. Phyllo dough languishing from some fanciful application. Feta just weeping in its own milk to be used. Dill wilting down with every passing day. I usually think of spanikopita either as a kind of delicious Greek lasagna, or as individually wrapped servings. This evening, in what I can see is playing into a theme, I didn’t have the time for either.
Hastily, I buttered and stacked my sheets of phyllo and draped them over a pie dish. Then I mixed a beaten egg, a few slivered green onions, a defrosted, wrung dry box of chopped spinach, at least a tablespoon of chopped dill, crumbled feta, and black pepper, then poured it down onto the dry surface of the top layer of dough and wrapped the whole thing up like a money bag. I pinched the top together, fanned out the edges, and lovingly brushed the outside with butter before baking for half an hour or so.
I’ve never cooked feta long enough to melt it, and something very interesting happens to the flavor. Pavlov wasn’t Greek, but I think you’ll know what I mean when I cite him in relation to my usual reaction to feta cheese. Something about the sharp tang. But this application made the cheese more mellow, almost creamy, and certainly no less delicious.
Happy, S.? There’s another bite/byte where this came from in your almost immediate future…