Walking around the Winter Farmer’s Market, there is beautiful produce all around. Some things that caught my eye were the leeks and spinach from Hollister Family Farm. Immediately, I put it together: I can make spanakopita with these!
Hollister Family Farm is a small family-owned farm located in Lee, NH. They operate a farm stand which is open from mid-July through mid-September every day 9 AM to 6 PM. When the farm stand is not open, you can find their table at the Portsmouth, Exeter, Durham, and Dover farmer’s markets during the spring and summertime. Additionally, of course, they also have a table at the Winter Farmer’s Markets in Rollinsford and Exeter. Some of their products are also sold at local retailers.
This farm sells several different types of fresh produce, along with honey from their own bees! Looking at their table in Rollinsford, I saw carrots, honey (and bee products like lip balm!), several lettuces, bok choy, spinach, leeks, onions, garlic, and rainbow swiss chard! Of course, these are seasonally available, and other produce favorites like tomatoes, cantaloupe, peppers, and eggplant are available during the summer months.
Overall, I ended up purchasing spinach and leeks, which are two key ingredients in one of my favorite recipes, spanakopita. Spanakopita is a dish of Greek origin which is comprised mainly of phyllo dough, spinach, and feta cheese. One of my favorite variations on spanakopita is a recipe which uses leeks in place of onions. The leeks add a slight sweetness and are much milder than onions, which really lets the spinach and feta cheese flavors shine. For a fun variation, you can replace some of the spinach with kale or swiss chard. Here is the recipe I use!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 1 leek
- 3 cloves garlic
- 24 ounces of spinach (fresh or frozen, I prefer using fresh)
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups crumbled feta cheese (I use reduced-fat)
- 2 eggs
- 2 Tbsp each fresh dill and mint (optional)
- ½ Tbsp each parsley and oregano
- 4 sheets phyllo dough, thawed according to package instructions
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare your leek by chopping off the dark green parts and the root end. Slice it in half, and then each of those halves in half again. Chop into small pieces. Place in a bowl of cold water and swirl around then let sit for at least 5 minutes. This removes dirt particles, which can typically get in between the layers. Drain the leeks in a colander.
- On a large skillet, add the olive oil, leeks, and garlic. You only need to cook them for about 3-4 minutes, until everything is very fragrant. Do not let anything burn, you might need to add some water to the pan to prevent this.
- Add in two handfuls of spinach. I like to use a cover here to trap steam and let spinach wilt down. Once wilted, add in another two handfuls of spinach and wilt again until all spinach has been added, stirring between each handful.
- At this point, carefully transfer your sautéed mixture into a colander and press any excess liquid out. Let the mixture sit for an additional 5-10 minutes to continue draining and also cool down.
- Once everything has cooled down, transfer into a large bowl and mix in seasonings.
- Add the eggs and feta and mix together. Set the mixture aside.
- Using a pastry brush, apply olive oil to bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking dish. Mold one sheet of phyllo dough into the pan, it should somewhat stick to the olive oil. Brush the top of this sheet with olive oil. Let any overhang remain.
- Place another sheet of phyllo dough on top, and brush with olive oil again. Repeat this step one more time.
- Add your spinach mixture to the pan and spread evenly. Top this with a sheet of phyllo dough and trim excess phyllo from this sheet. Then, take the overhanging phyllo dough from bottom sheets and fold it over the top phyllo sheet. This should get crinkly and might look messy, but it will be beautiful after you bake it. Brush all exposed phyllo sheets with olive oil. Use a paring knife to make a small slit in the middle of the top sheet to allow steam to escape.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven. The dish is done when the top layer of phyllo dough is golden brown, and a knife inserted in the middle comes out without any liquid egg. Enjoy!