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Open-Faced Spanikopita

Several times a week, I get home from work, open the fridge, and sigh. What the hell am I going to make for dinner? There’s half a red onion, a package of mushrooms, two slices of bread, leftover kale, one red pepper….yea, I’m not getting very far.

Last week, I had a blip of inspiration between long-ish bouts of cooking drab food, and managed to throw together these open-faced spanikopita with roasted peppers and tomatoes. There was a bit of leftover filo dough in the freezer, but it wasn’t wide enough to fold into triangles as I usually do, so I just left them flat and piled the goodies on top. And when you’re working with such few ingredients and almost no technique, there’s room to play with decorative aspects of the food. I arranged the red peppers in a criss-crossing pattern atop the spinach-kale mixture, and D thought the whole thing looked very fancy-shmancy.

Point is, don’t let a fridge full of half-used veggies and scraps get you down. There are lots of easy dishes that make use of leftovers in creative and easy ways. Now if only I could think of a couple more….for now, I’ll leave you with this spanikopita, which was truly a hit. For a quickie weeknight dinner, it truly fits the bill.

Open-Faced Spanikopita
makes 2 servings.

  • 10 layers of filo dough, about 6″x16″
  • olive oil for brushing between the layers (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 6 cherry or grape tomatoes
  • combined 1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh spinach or kale (I used a combo)
  • 1 cup cheese — I used a mix of feta and ricotta, but farmer’s cheese would also work
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano for grating on top
  1. Set out the filo dough and allow to thaw completely before unrolling.
  2. Meanwhile, roughly chop spinach and/or kale if fresh; if frozen, thaw and drain completely.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine chopped greens with cheese, and mix thoroughly until well combined. If you prefer a smoother texture, blend in the food processor.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Set one rack on the highest shelf.
  5. Put the red pepper and tomatoes on a baking sheet, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and salt. Roast for about 20 minutes, until the skin of the pepper is charred. Remove from the oven, and put the pepper in a paper bag to steam for 5 minutes. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees.
  6. When you remove the pepper from the bag, its skin should be easy to remove. Once the skin is off, slice the pepper into matchsticks (pretty thin slices).
  7. Now, slice two 6″x8″ rectangles out of the filo dough.
  8. Working with one rectangle at a time, take a layer of dough, brush it with olive oil, and place the next layer on top. Repeat with each layer, then with the second rectangle.
  9. When all layers are brushed and stacked, scoop 2/3 cup of the spinach-cheese mixture onto the filo stacks.
  10. Put the pepper slices and tomatoes onto the spanikopita in a haphazard or decorative (your choice) way. Grate some parmigiano-reggiano cheese on top.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes, or until filo dough layers are golden. Be careful — it’s hot!

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