Spanakopita is pretty great in any incarnation. So long as there is tzatziki to eat it with, I’m a fan, even if it’s a rather greasy slice from a sub-par Greek restaurant. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with pastry and spinach and cheese.
That said, if I’m going to bother making it myself, I’d prefer it be slightly more than edible. This version is packed with vegetables and fresh herbs. It tastes light and fresh and almost healthy. It makes a great weeknight dinner because the leftovers are great for lunch the next day (if you don’t mind slightly soggy phyllo). Serve it with the tzatziki found in this recipe and a leafy green salad with tomatoes and onions.
Adapted from Mediterranean Harvest by Martha Rose Shulman
- 1 kilogram fresh spinach (2-1/4 pounds), stemmed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the pastry
- 3 large leeks, white and light green parts only, washed well and thinly sliced
- Leaves from one bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped (or two teaspoons dried, crumbled)
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
- 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 3/4 teaspoon dried)
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- Zest of half a lemon
- 1-1/2 cups feta, crumbled (one standard package)
- Salt and pepper
- 12 sheets phyllo dough
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- Wilt the spinach, still wet from washing, in a large, non-reactive skillet over medium-high heat. Transfer to a colander, rinse with cold water and press out as much water as possible. Wrap in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out more water. Chop finely and set aside.
- Heat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the leeks. Cook, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Ad the spinach and stir until coated with oil.
- Transfer the spinach and leeks to a large bowl. Stir in the parsley, rosemary, dill, thyme, eggs, lemon zest, feta, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Brush a 30-centimetre (12-inch) tart pan with oil and layer in 7 sheets of phyllo dough. Brush each piece of phyllo with oil before adding the next and place them not quite evenly on top of each other so that the edges overlap the sides of the pan all the way around. Sppon in the filling. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling, brushing with olive oil. Layer 5 sheets of phyllo on top, brushing each layer with oil. Stuff the edges into the sides of the pan. Brush the top with beaten egg white. Make several slits in the top with a sharp knife.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature.