In my book, there are a few important qualities that are needed in a perfect, passed appetizer. You should be able to do most of the work ahead so that when your guests arrive, you are able to greet them properly instead of being stuck in the kitchen.
Second, the individual servings should be easy to handle and if possible, held with one hand. Most guests will have a cocktail and it is best not to create the awkward juggling act needed to deal with something like a sloppy meatball (though I do love a good meatball!).
Finally, it should be delicious and somewhat impressive since your passed appetizers will likely be the first thing your guests eat. Those first bites will set the tone for the quality of the food that is to come. And, what if your appetizer also fills the house with a buttery, mouthwatering aroma? Well, that is just extra credit.
Spinach Feta and Phyllo Triangles, pass my test and fill all the above requirements and for that reason, I keep a bag of them in the freezer. I must admit they have an Achilles heel. The phyllo can be crumbly and slightly messy but it isn’t enough of a reason for me to turn my back on these popular bites.
Some say that phyllo is hard to work with. I find it very forgiving. Follow the instructions and keep the sheets covered while working. Don’t be afraid of a little tear in the sheet, just keep folding. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to whip these up faster than you can say Spanakotiropitakia.
Spanakotiropitakia – Spinach Feta Phyllo Triangles
Makes about 40 triangles
2 – 10 ounce boxes of frozen spinach
½ lb. good quality feta cheese
1 stick (8 ounces) unsalted butter, divided
4 spring/green onions
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped dill
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1. Thaw frozen spinach and squeeze handfuls to remove all the water. Put it in a medium sized mixing bowl.
2. Crumble the feta and add to the spinach. Mix with a fork.
3. In a pan, heat 2 Tablespoons of the butter until melted. Remove green ends of spring onions and chop white parts. Saute in the butter for a few minutes.
4. Add the butter and onion mixture to the spinach mixture along with the dill salt, pepper and the lightly beaten eggs.
5. Mix everything together with a fork until well combined.
6. Melt remaining 6 Tablespoons of butter to brush on triangles.
7. Carefully remove the phyllo sheets from the package. Cut into 3 inch strips. Cover the phyllo that you are not using with a piece of plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
8. Brush one strip of phyllo lightly with melted butter. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling on the bottom of the phyllo strip about 1 inch from the top. Fold the bottom corner up over the filling to make a triangle. Continue folding like a flag to complete the filled triangle.
9. Continue until you have used all the filling.
10. Place triangles on a baking sheet. You may freeze them at this stage. After two hours in the freezer on the baking sheet, gently put them in a storage bag or container.
11. To bake them, brush each triangle with butter and bake them in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
12. To bake frozen triangles, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush them with butter and bake prior to thawing for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Watch them closely.