Sunday, September 06, 2009

Popeye Would Love This Stuff

My father used to make spinach pie for us all the time when we were kids. Yes, we were kids that actually liked spinach! He typically made it in a square pan, like Sicilian pizza and it was always so flavorful and delicious. Sometimes he'd add sausage; oh what a wonderful treat that was! Our favorite way to eat it was cold the next day, so he always made plenty to have around.

Unfortunately, since he's passed on I can't just call him for his recipe and my mother didn't have a copy of it, so I made it the way I remembered he did. It is very simple in the ingredients department and I watched him do it so many times I could probably make it in my sleep anyway. I rarely, if ever, cook from a recipe and my father was the same way. So I'm guessing that if the "like father, like daughter" thing applies, my spinach pie is going to come out amazing!

1 – 16 oz. ball of frozen pizza dough (I used Tiseo’s Frozen Pizza Dough because that’s what they had in the grocery store I happened to be in at the time.) You need enough dough to make a 9” pie – top and bottom crusts
2 - 16 oz. bags of frozen cut leaf spinach (or chopped spinach), thawed and drained of water
1 Medium white onion, diced
6 large cloves of garlic, minced
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Red pepper flakes
Grated parmesan cheese (Pecorina-Romano, Locatelli, etc.)
Shredded mozzarella
1 egg (to be used for glazing the dough)

1. Coat the bottom of your frying pan with olive oil. Throw in your minced garlic and chopped onions and start to sauté. While that’s cooking, put your thawed spinach in a colander and press the water out of it.

2. Once you’ve squeezed all the water out, throw the spinach in the frying pan. Add salt, pepper and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes – the amount depends on how spicy you want it. It really doesn’t have to “cook” since you’ll be putting it in the oven, but I like to make sure everything is mixed together. I just left mine on a low heat until I was ready to use it.

3. Take your ball of pizza dough and cut it in half – half for the top crust and half for the bottom. Sprinkle a little flour on your counter top and roll out the dough to fit the circumference of your pie tin. Put the piece you’ll use on top on the side for now – you’ll need it later after you fill your pie pan. I used a 9” aluminum pan because in the truck, my convection oven is only so big. I would rather make it in a square glass pan like my father used to do. Either way is fine.

4. Once the dough is stretched out to fit, lay it in your pie pan and then fill it part of the way with your spinach mixture. Then, sprinkle the spinach mix with grated cheese and add a handful of shredded mozzarella. Spoon in the rest of your spinach mixture and do the same thing again – add grated cheese and mozzarella.

5. Once that is done, lay on your top piece of dough. Pinch the edges of the top and bottom dough pieces together. Beat the egg with one tablespoon of water and brush it on the top of the pie. Poke a few holes in the top crust with a pointy knife to let steam escape.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until crust is nice and brown. Keep an eye on it, you don’t want the crust to burn!

7. When the pie is done, let sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before slicing. If you’d like, you can just stare at its beautiful crust while you’re waiting. Go ahead, no one’s looking. The pie sets up nicely in the fridge overnight and I happen to like it better cold than hot, but it’s good either way.
8. Enjoy!

Click HERE for a printable version of the recipe.

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Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Ha my brother and I always liked spinach too! This looks *fabulous.* I'll definitely try it once the weather cools off a bit (a lot, actually) ;)

Gil said...

This makes me hungry and sounds like a good way to eat spinach!

Rita said...

Oh, what I wouldn't give to have a truck like yours so I could cook like that in my truck!