This weeks recipe inspiration is just perfect for this cooler weather. Delicious Spanakopita, the most famous of Traditional Greek vegetable pies. Traditionally it is made with wild greens, so for this reason feel free to use a mixture of rocket, endive and Asian greens in this pie. See the recipe below.
This classic Greek pie makes a perfect light lunch or dinner treat, and has such a fabulous combination of flavours – spinach, dill, leek and spring onions with tasty cheeses. You can also cut it into small diamonds or pie segments and serve as an appetiser. It makes a great school lunchbox snack too. Thank you to Josette Frost for this amazing photo!
1 bunch spinach or silver beet (or mixed greens)
300 g feta
100 g ricotta (optional)
20 g finely grated organic Parmesan (optional)
2 tbsp dry breadcrumbs
a pinch of ground nutmeg to taste
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
60 ml olive oil
1 fresh dill bunch, finely chopped
8 spring onions, finely chopped
1 leek, finely chopped
20 to 24 sheets filo pastry
125 g butter, melted
Cooling time 15 minutes, Preheat oven to 180°C.
Trim the roots from the spinach or greens or if using silver beet, cut out the stems. Wash leaves and drain well. Coarsely shred and set aside. Place the feta in a large bowl and roughly mash with a fork. Add the other cheeses, eggs, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, pepper, oil, dill, leek and spring onions. Mix with the fork to combine. Place the spinach, mixed greens or silver beet on top and mix lightly with your hands. Lightly oil or butter a 20 cm x 30 cm x 5 cm baking dish. Lay the filo pastry out on a work surface. Line the dish with a sheet of filo and brush it with butter. Top with another sheet of filo brushed with butter and continue until about half the filo is used. When not using the filo, cover it with a dry tea towel and then a damp one to keep it from drying out. Use your hand or a large metal spoon to gently mix the spinach filling until thoroughly combined. Tip into the filo base and spread out evenly. Layer with the remaining sheets of filo brushed with butter, ensuring the final sheet is well buttered. Trim off any overhanging pastry and tuck in the sides. Use a sharp knife to score the pastry into diamonds. Pierce the pastry once or twice to allow air to escape during baking. Sprinkle lightly with water and bake in the oven for 45–60 minutes or until well browned. Gently shake the baking dish; the spanakopita should slide easily when it is cooked. Cover with foil if it is over-browning. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving.
Note – The greens can be prepared a day ahead. It must be as dry as possible to ensure the spanakopita does not become soggy.