Last Year I stayed with my friends family in Greece. Here I was fed like I have never been fed before and it was all delicious. This was one of the dishes their mother made and I fell in love. Gorgeous crispy Filo Pastry with wonderful Spinach filling, such a moreish treat. Since then I have been trying to master it and here is my recipe, I hope it does it justice.
Serves 6-8. You will need a large pie tin.
Fresh Spinach – 1 kg
Onion – 1 Large, finely chopped
Spring onions – 1 bunch (around 6) finely chopped, the light green stem only.
Garlic – 3 cloves finely chopped
Fresh Dill – 1 small bunch, finely chopped
Fresh flat-leaf Parsley – 2 tablespoons finely chopped.
Crumbled Feta – 200g
Grated Parmesan – 50g
Ground Nutmeg – 1/4 Tsp
Eggs – 2 Large
Filo sheets – 2 packs (around 12 sheets)
Dried Breadcrumbs – A handful
The Filling: Take a large, non-stick frying pan and place onto a high heat. Add a very small amount of olive oil and a few large handfuls of Spinach. You will have to cook the Spinach in batches. It should sizzle and start to wilt. Keep tossing it about and once it is all wilted, remove it from the pan and place into a colander. Repeat this process until all of the spinach is cooked. Once it is cool enough to handle, squeeze as much water out of the spinach as you can and set aside.
In the same frying pan, heat a little more oil and sweat the onions for a few minutes. Now add the spring onions and garlic and cook for a further few minutes on a medium heat. Add the the spinach and cook for a further minute or two, mixing all the ingredients together in the pan. Take this off the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.
Once it has cooled, add the egg, fresh herbs, nutmeg, parmesan and season (don’t go too heavy on the salt, remember the Feta is quite salty). Mix this well and then fold in the crumbled feta until fully combined.
Assembly: Pre-heat the oven to 180°c. Grease the inside of the tin with a little olive oil. Take the sheets of filo and lay them across the Pie tin, pressing it into the edges gently. I had to use 2 per layer and lay them side by side, over-lapping slightly. It doesn’t matter if you have excess on the outside, that can be folded in later. Now, pour some olive oil into a jug, take a pastry brush and lightly spread some oil over the first layer. Sprinkle some breadcrumbs over this and then continue to do this with three more layers, still spreading olive oil and bread crumbs on each layer.
Take the filling and spoon it into the case, pressing it down firmly and level. Drizzle a little olive oil onto the filling (I don’t know if this is needed, I just saw Greek people do it and it made me feel authentic!). Now lay the final layers of filo on top in the same way we did the bottom with the olive oil and breadcrumbs, until you have used all the filo.
There will be over-hanging Filo so all you are going to do is fold it into the centre, spreading some Olive oil and breadcrumbs here and there between the folds. Make it look rustic and messy, this is the best way. Tear bits of and put them in the centre of you wish, you just want to end up with a good covering and finish. Brush the finished tart with a little more olive oil and sprinkle some salt over the top. Pop it into the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until lovely and golden.
– I have made this for picnics or just a snack. Its great served alongside some meat or fish as well.
– If you want to re-heat it DO NOT MICROWAVE IT!!!!! Its makes the Filo soggy and yuk, just pop it in the oven if you want it warm.
-The breadcrumbs in this recipe just help to keep it crispy.