Spanakopita

Simply delicious: Traditional Greek spanakopita.
Simply delicious: Traditional Greek spanakopita. Photo: Marcel Aucar
Dietary
Vegetarian

I don't work on weekends so often these days, which gives me more time to cook a simple, delicious lunch at home. Spanakopita is a family favourite. Cheesy, crispy and buttery, it also has loads of iron-rich spinach and the youngsters can't say no to it - just don't tell them it's good for them.

Ingredients

1 bunch spinach (or silverbeet, but remove central stems)

250g feta

150g ricotta

40g finely grated parmesan 

5 eggs

2 tbsp breadcrumbs

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

60ml olive oil 

2 dill sprigs, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

375g filo pastry

125g butter, melted

2 tbsp sesame seeds

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Trim any spinach roots, wash the leaves and drain well, then coarsely shred them and set aside.

Place the feta in a large bowl and roughly mash it with a fork. Add the ricotta, parmesan, eggs, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, pepper, oil, dill and green onions and mix well. Add the spinach and mix lightly but thoroughly with your hands.

Lightly oil a 20x30-centimetre baking dish. Lay a sheet of filo on a work surface and brush it with butter. Top that with another sheet of filo, brush with butter and continue until about half the filo is used.

When you're not using the filo, cover it with a dry tea towel and then a damp one to stop it from drying out.

Gently lower the buttered filo rectangle into the baking dish, making sure the pastry goes right into the corners of the dish. Tip the cheese and spinach mix into the filo base and spread it out evenly.

Layer the remaining sheets of filo on top, brushed with butter, ensuring the final sheet is well buttered. Trim off any overhanging pastry and tuck in the sides. Use a sharp knife to score the pastry diagonally (piercing the pastry allows air to escape during baking and keeps the top crisp).

Lightly sprinkle  sesame seeds on top and bake in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until it is well browned.

Gently shake the baking dish; the spanakopita should slide easily when it is cooked. Cover it with foil if it is over-browning.

Cool it on a rack for 15 minutes before serving.

 Serve with: Frank Camorra's fattoush salad.