I’ve probably left this a little late in the day (although this is does make a quick and easy meal), but as today is World Vegetarian Day, it seems worth a post…Anyway, even if you don’t try it today, it’s worth a go another time.
This very simple pie is loosely based on Greek Spanakopita – it is another great example of how filo pastry can be used to make a dramatic looking dish with a minimum of effort. It can be served hot, warm or cold and is great as part of a summer picnic.
For 4-6 servings:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion
¼ cup pine nuts
500g frozen spinach, thawed and drained
200g feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon each dried basil, thyme and grated nutmeg
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
10 sheets filo pastry
about 2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil
Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan, add the onion and cook until softened. Stir in the pine nuts and continue to cook until these are golden brown.
While the onion cooks squeeze as much liquid as you can from be thawed spinach. Place the spinach in a large bowl and add the crumbled cheese, then the seasonings and the onion-pine nut mixture (The quantity of salt required will depend on the saltiness of the feta – vary it to taste.). Add the eggs and stir until well mixed.
Preheat the oven to 200°C, and non-stick spray or oil a shallow casserole dish (about 20x25cm). Lay two sheets of filo out on the bench, and brush the top sheet lightly with melted butter or olive oil. Lay these sheets lengthways down the prepared dish, gently pressing them into the bottom, leave the over-hanging edges. Prepare another two sheets and lay these into the dish at right angles to the first sheets. Repeat this process so that there are eight sheets of filo in the dish.
Gently spread the spinach filling mix over the pastry in the bottom of the dish. Cover the spinach mixture with another two sheets of filo, folded to make them fit. Fold in the over-hanging edges of the bottom sheets, and lightly brush the surface with oil or melted butter.
Bake at 200°C for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and firm when pressed in the centre. Serve hot, warm or even cold.
Photography: Lindsay Keats