Thursday, October 1, 2009
Trader Joe's Spanakopita
"Spanakopita" is yet another word that, as far as I can tell, roughly translates to "OMG, please tell me there's more!" in Greek (also see "John Stamos," below).
OK, now that I have wiped the drool off my chin, let us return to spanakopita.
If you have never had spanakopita before...you are missing out, my friend! Spanakopita is made up of layers of phyllo dough, spinach, feta cheese, onion and butter (lots of butter). Sometimes it's served sort of like lasagna, other times -- as with the Trader Joe's version -- it's cut into little individual servings. I have been lucky enough to have homemade spanakopita that was so good you forgot your own name. And I've had some pretty respectable versions in various Greek diners. (Heads-up to anyone living in or visiting the Atlanta metro area: the Marietta Diner makes a darn good one. A word of advice, though -- you MUST save room for dessert!)
Anyway, is there anything that could possibly be bad combined with phyllo and butter? (Once more, see "John Stamos," below.)
Ummmm...let us once again return to spanakopita. (Not that I have been distracted, of course. The above John Stamos pictures are purely for educational illustration.)
Trader Joe has made their version into cute little triangles. Each triangle is roughly four inches by two. They make for a hearty appetizer, but I personally like to have them for dinner. They need to be baked in a conventional oven (do not microwave!) , but it is well worth the time.
The phyllo is crispy and flaky. My only complaint, and it's a minor one, is that if you don't have a good broiler, or if you don't baste them with butter or egg wash -- a suggestion the box unfortunately fails to mention -- they don't always brown as well as one might hope.
As for the filling, all of the ingredients are mixed together. The spinach has a nice fresh taste, and it is neither watery nor limp. The cheese is a little creamy, but has that bite that can be expected of good feta. There is a nice, salty tang. I didn't really notice the onion, but the label assures me it's there. And there is enough butter to keep Paula Deen happy.
All told, this one is definitely a winner. For heat-and-eat spanakopita, I can't imagine it getting much better than this.