Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spinach, Feta and Dill Spanakopita Cigars

A traditional Greek hors d'oeuvre, spanokopita are typically made as bite size triangle-shaped savoury pastries stuffed with spinach, onions, cheeses and fresh herbs, wrapped in buttery flaky phyllo and baked to flaky perfection. Using a similar technique for making springrolls, the filling is placed on small squares of buttered phyllo dough sheets and rolled up tightly to form thin cigars. These are then kissed with more butter and oil before baking until they become crispy golden brown. Elegant and delicious, Spanakopita Cigars can be rolled tighter for a more delicate appetizer, or rolled with more filling for a more generous cigar-shaped treat.

Spanakopita Cigars
Makes about 20-30 cigars, depending on the size

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
10 oz frozen chopped spinach. thawed and squeezed dry
6 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup ricotta
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb phyllo, thawed
8 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add the white and green chopped onions and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the spinach, feta, ricotta and egg in medium bowl. Add the cooked onions and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Combine the melted butter and oil in a small bowl and set aside until ready to use.

Cut each sheet of phyllo dough into 4 equal squares. Cover with a piece of cling film and then lay a slightly damp towel overtop. To make each cigar, take one piece of phyllo and lightly brush it with some of the butter and oil mixture. Top with a second sheet of phyllo and brush again. Place a heaping tablespoon of the spinach-feta mixture along the centre of the bottom side nearest to you. Fold up the phyllo once and then fold over the right side and then the left side of the phyllo. Brush with butter and oil mixture and then gently continue rolling it up like a burrito.
Place the cigars, as they're completed, seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with  loose piece of cling film to keep them from drying out. Repeat until all the filling is gone. 

Remove the cling film and brush the tops of the cigars with more of the butter-oil mixture. Bake until they're crisp and golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.