Spanakopita a traditional Greek recipe. Easy to make with filo pastry and very healthy. It consists of 4 onion varieties, which complement each other perfectly. Leeks, red onion, spring onion and shallot combined with salty feta and juicy spinach.
3stalksspring onions white and pale green parts chopped
1large leek well washed, white part chopped
⅛teaspoonnutmeg freshly grated
4tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
This spanakopita is wonderful when eaten warm, but can also be eaten cold.
Because you use 4 different onion types (when you leek count as an onion), this spanakopita gets a lot of flavors.
Coat the top of the spanakopita with cold water so that the edges do not curl just before baking in the oven.
If you really do not want to use spinach then you could also choose kale, cavolo nero and there are even recipes with nettles known (you need a lot of the latter). But real Greeks would never make the Spanakopita without spinach.
You can replace the olive oil with butter. Ghee (clarified butter) gives the best results.
Spray the olive oil so that you use less oil and the result is not so greasy.
Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5.
Wash the spinach and dry thoroughly, discard the tough stems, chop or tear the leaves into pieces, place into a large bowl. (If using thawed chopped frozen spinach just place into a large bowl).
Add the chopped onions, chopped leek, finely chopped dill, four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, the crumbled feta cheese, and the optional garlic and nutmeg.
Using your hands vigorously massage the filling ingredients until the mixture loses about half to three-quarters its original volume.
Over a bowl or a large plate squeeze large handfuls of the mixture till they feel dry, continue until you have done all of the filling mixtures, and you have collected all the excess liquid.
Cover the excess liquid with enough breadcrumbs to absorb the liquid. The breadcrumbs should be moist.
Return the moisture-laden breadcrumbs back into the filling mixture. Add two eggs and mix well using your hands.
Taste, season with some salt (careful feta contains lots of salt) and plenty of pepper. Set aside. The filling can be stored in the fridge for a day or two if well covered.
Brush oil on the baking dish.
Cover the phyllo sheets with a damp tea towel.
Oil every second sheet, cover the base and sides of your baking dish making sure that the sheets overhang the edges of the baking dish.
Use six phyllo sheets for the base and sides.
Spoon the filling into the phyllo pastry case.
Use four phyllo sheets to cover the top, oil each layer.
Use a spoon or similar to neaten the edges of the pastry case.
Cut into 20 squares before baking. (At this stage you can freeze the unbaked spanakopita to be baked for later, add 10 minutes extra to the baking time.)
Bake in a preheated moderately hot oven for 40 minutes.
Cover with foil if over-browning. Check for doneness by using a thin knife, insert it into the spanakopita for 30 secs, the filling should feel set and the knife should feel hot to the touch. If not done yet, extend the oven time by 5 minutes and repeat until done.