- 3 pounds Spinach
- 2 Leekonly the white part
- 1 red Onion
- 5 cloves Garlic
- 6 branches Thyme
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- ½ cup Milk
- 4 Eggs
- 450g/ 1 lb Feta
- 5-6 branches parsleychopped
- 5-6 branches Dillchopped
- 2 brabches Mint
- ½ cup Olive oil
- 6 filo sheetsthawed and covered with a towel
I was first introduced to spanakopita about 20 years ago, while visiting a small-town tavern on the island of Santorini in Greece. Menu was in Greek, I had no idea what to order, So, I just did my usual thing when I don’t understand the menu, I ask the waiter to bring me a bunch of his favorite dishes.
In most cases this ends up in an overpriced selection of dishes that the restaurant wants to get rid of, but in this case, it was a small family tavern and I got one of the best Greek meals I ever had, among them was the spanakopita which caught my attention right on the start.
It was years after that meal which I came across spanakopita, in an article about Greek food in a magazine, I knew right away that I must make this great spinach filo pie and since then it’s one of those dishes I always go back to, changing the version, desperately trying to reach the distinct memory taste I have on my mind from that small tavern.
Traditional Spanakopita guidelines
You can’t go wrong with spinach feta filo, right? well, you can, I’ve tried awful spanakopita’s over the years and I believe the key to a good dish is keeping the proportion between the herbs and greens and keeping the filo (phyllo) layers nice and crunchy.
Spinach is the heart of this dish, and should be treated as such, I just blanch it for no more than 3-4 minutes and soak it in ice water, I want it in to be crunchy and bright green (don’t forget that the spinach will be baked so if it’s not 100% soft, it’s OK).
Remaining green herbs are not thrown into the spinach mix but added to the eggs bowl mix, I want to keep them fresh, giving them minimum tempering, they are the natural seasoning of this dish and should be kept fresh.
Spanakopita is a feta spinach filling which are wrapped by filo sheets. The filling is wet so we need enough filo sheets to hold it together, I use a minimum of 3 sheets, less that that will not hold the pie stable.
Filo is a thin sheet dough with zero fat, in order to tie it together we need to insert some kind of fat, else it will go dry and break.
I use olive oil according to the traditional Greek method but if you want to enrich the pie you can use melted butter or regular oil, it really doesn’t matter as long as you brush the filo layers thoroughly, this will ensure that the layers will be nice and crispy and will not break.
Let’s dig into this great Greek pie and you’ll see it is really easy pastry that give you a lot of leeway for personal interpretations.
blanching the spinach
Set a large pot with water on high heat.
cook the spinach filling
Set a large iron skillet over medium-high heat.
combine the egg filling with the spinach mix
assemble the Spanakopita
Preheat the oven to 180°c/350°F.
baking the Spanakopita