January 16th 2014
Spanikopita is a delicious spinach and feta savory pastry that is wrapped in crispy, butter laden, phyllo. Several different cultures have their own version of this treat, we are Greek so ours is very Mediterranean. A great thing for lunch or a snack, it isn't always easy to find the time to make the whole pie, or work with the phyllo or even pre-heat the oven for that matter. I found a way to have all the flavor of the original with the ease of a sandwich, I was inspired by when I was in Rome and went into a panini shop where they had paninis filled with just cooked spinach and buffalo mozzarella, they were a cheap and delicious lunch on the go for the broke, American, back packer. With that in mind, I decided that Spanikopita grilled cheese would be a no-brainer for a recipe.
You will need:
4 slices of good quality bread, I used a Sicilian loaf studded with sesame seeds
1 Tablespoon softened butter
1 10 oz bag of baby spinach, or if you buy in bulk two big handfuls
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1 teaspoon dill
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled
4 thin slices of provolone
pinch of salt
a few cranks of fresh cracked pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Plug in panini press, I'm ghetto fab so I use my default early 2000's wedding gift "George Foreman grill", you can also heat a skillet over medium heat and grill it that way your choice. Divide butter evenly between four slices of bread, spread thinly on one side of each slice. In a medium skillet heat olive oil over medium high heat, add garlic and shallots, cook four minutes or so till the garlic is golden brown. Add spinach, pinch of salt and pepper, cook a few minutes till spinach is wilted and most of the moisture is cooked out, add dill and feta, turn off heat, mix. Assemble sandwiches by placing two slices of bread butter side down on your press, or pan, add one slice of provolone to each, next divide spinach mixture in half and place on half on each slice, top with other slices of cheese and slices of bread, making sure butter side is up. Put the lid down on the panini press and cook about five minutes or until golden and bubbly or if using a pan flip after about five minutes, cook other side for three. These are a fun alternative to replace the usual grilled cheese and tomato soup you know and love.