There are a large number of variations on this traditional Greek recipe. Mine has evolved over time to be as close as I can get to the spinach slice I used to walk miles down the beach to the village of Koroni in search of, whilst spending a summer as a volunteer on a turtle conservation project. In Greece it is cooked with spinach and Horta – the wild greens normally picked in the hills and widely used. I think using a good mix of spinach, chard and/or kale and rocket along with the mint and dill gives the pie an authentic flavour. Like many Greek mezze dishes its best eaten at room temperature, ideal for lazy weekend lunches and perfect for picnics!
Spanakopita - Greek spinach & filo pie
Dinner plate sized shallow pie dish or similar
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium leek, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
500g mixed spinach, chard, kale, rocket, or similar
1 small bunch of dill, 40g approx
1 small bunch of mint, 40g approx
4-6 sheets of filo pastry
Large glug of olive oil & more to brush the pastry
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
Sesame seeds to garnish
In a large pan add the olive oil followed by the onion, garlic and leek. Sauté on a medium heat until they begin to soften. Roughly chop and wash well the greens, finely slicing the stalks of the chard or similar. Finely chop the bunch of dill including the stalks, and chop the leaves of the mint discarding the stalks. Add the greens and herbs to the pan and continue to sauté gently until they have wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated. Season well then take of the heat and leave to cool slightly.
I make this pie using a plate sized shallow pie dish, however any circular or square dish could be used providing your sheets of filo pastry are large enough to line the dish. Take the first sheet of filo and lay across the dish then brush lightly with olive oil. Layer another sheet on and repeat with at least 4 sheets of pastry although you can use more if you wish. Fill the base of the pie with the spinach mixture then fold up and over any of the pastry which is hanging over the edges of the dish.
If the pastry meets and covers over the spinach then you needn’t use any more, however I tend to use a couple of sheets to top the pie anyway, simply crinkled up and placed over the top then patted down. Brush the top sheets with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds, then place the dish on a baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is lightly browned.
The pie is best eaten at room temperature and will keep in the fridge for several days.