What’s the first thing that comes to mind,
When I say – “olive oil and spinach”?
For me I gotta say,
It was Popeye!
How about you?
Surely it was either Popeye or spanakopita!
Well maybe not the latter,
What I can say about the latter…
Spanakopita (aka spana) is quintessentially Greek,
And for first time spana cookers,
Easier to put together than you might think!
And I’m sure Popeye, or perhaps Olive Oil, would agree!
Basically spinach & feta encased in crispy golden filo and…
As delicious as any pie you’re ever gonna eat,
They secret to a great spana is lots and lots of fresh herbs!
Dill, parsley, leek, spring onion,
All combine to bring the spinach and feta alive!
And because feta on its own can be a little full on when it comes to saltiness,
We’ve combine ricotta to the mix.
Ricotta balances out the saltiness,
Yet it still provides a lovely creaminess.
I love eating some olives with it too…
The combination just seems to work,
Maybe because it reminds me of the days I have enjoyed spana on the Greek islands with a lovely glass of wine…
And maybe because feta & olives just works no matter where you’re enjoying them together.
Pies are simple,
Pies are filling,
Pies are adaptable and
Pies are delicious!
Serve it with a side salad for lunch,
Eat it for brekkie,
Or even as dinner!
And be sure and let us know how your home made spanakopita turned out and…
What you loved most about this Greek iconic dish!
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For the Filling
2 bunches of spinach washed well, dried and chopped
1 leek diced
1 bunch spring onions sliced
1 red onion diced
½ bunch dill chopped
½ bunch parsley chopped
1 tsp oregano
4 tbsp olive oil
For the Pastry
1 pack filo pastry (you will need 11 sheets)
¼ cup semolina
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
extra olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
In a large pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the red onion. Add the leek and sauté until soft then add the spring onion and sauté for about 1 minute.
Add the spinach and cook until wiltered down. season with oregano, some salt & pepper (not too much salt because the feta will also add saltiness). Remove from the heat and add stir in the parsley and dill so that it is mixed evenly. Allow mixture to cool.
In a large bowl add the ricotta, feta, and egg and stir to combine. Before adding the spinach make sure you squeeze out all the excess fluid. Add the spinach and mix together so all the ingredients are mixed evenly then set aside while you prepare the filo.
Oil a 32x32cm oven dish by brushing with some olive oil.
To assemble the spanakopita, unroll the filo and take the first two sheets and place them in the oven dish with some excess filo hanging over the sides. You will need to use 2 filo sheets per layer to cover the base of the large oven dish.
Have some olive oil in a bowl and a brush and use it to sprinkle olive oil between each layer of the filo. Do not brush the olive oil on, as it will make the sheets stick together.
Do six layers of filo for the bottom making sure to drizzle olive oil between each layer. Make sure you get some olive oil on the filo that is overhanging as well.
Before you add the filling over the base, sprinkle the semolina over the bottom to soak up any excess liquid from the spinach mixture.
Add the filling and spread out evenly.
Now start layering the filo like you did with the base, over the top. Make five layers on the top, sprinkling each layer with oil as you did with the base.
Turn the edges of the filo inwards over the top to create a crust around the edge of the spanakopita. Add the 1 tbsp olive oil to the 1 tbsp butter and stir to combine then pour the mixture around the overturned edges so they get coated well.
Score the top with a knife and gently brush with some olive oil.
Cook in the oven for 45-60 minutes or until golden.
Remove and cool on a rack.