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Ellen Catlett's Spanakopitas

August 06, 2006

2 (10-ounce) packages of frozen, chopped spinach (or 2 pounds of fresh spinach)
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 green onions, sliced thin
1 pound feta cheese
1 pound small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon finely cut fresh dill
6 large eggs
1/2 pound to 1 pound butter
2 pounds phyllo dough, thawed (Catlett recommends Athens-brand; one box contains 40, 9-by-14-inch sheets of dough)

Thaw frozen spinach (or wash fresh spinach well, remove stems and chop into small pieces). Drain spinach and pat dry. Heat olive oil, and saut green onions until soft. Add spinach and simmer until moisture evaporates.

Rinse feta cheese under cold water, drain and pat dry. Crumble into small crumbs and place in a large bowl. Blend in cottage cheese, parsley, white pepper and dill. Add beaten eggs and mix well. Add spinach and green onions and mix well.

Melt one stick of butter in a small saucepan over very low heat, taking care not to let the butter brown. Set melted butter aside.

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To prepare work space for folding dough, cover the area in plastic wrap. Catlett also places unrolled dough on the plastic wrap and places plastic wrap over the unrolled dough. She puts damp towel on top of that to maintain moisture. Start by quickly removing one sheet of phyllo dough (taking care to re-cover the unrolled stack). Lay the piece lengthwise and facing your body. Lightly brush the dough with melted butter. Fold the sheet into thirds, starting from the top and bringing up the bottom.

Place about one tablespoon of the spinach mixture at the bottom left corner. Pick up the corner with the filling and fold over to make a triangle shape (like a flag). Continue folding over from side to side, forming a neat triangle. Brush the finished triangle with butter and place directly onto an ungreased baking sheet. Do not let the triangles touch as they puff up during baking.

Unbaked spanakopitas can be frozen as long as they are separated by waxed paper or plastic wrap.

Place in a preheated 425-degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until they are plump, crisp and golden. Do not turn over while baking.

Makes 70 to 100 triangles.

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