Spinach is rich in potassium, folic acid, calcium and magnesium, as well as vitamins B6 and C. It helps regulate blood pressure and fortifies the immune and osteoskeletal systems. It’s one of the perfect super foods!
Always opt for organic spinach, as for all winter vegetables that their leaves grow close to the ground (lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, brussle sprouts and cabbage).
Tasty Spinach Pie…
- 1 kilo/35. oz fresh spinach washed well to remove the sand (frozen spinach is good too for this recipe, just thaw completely and squeeze between your plans to remove excess moisture).
- 1 bunch spring onions with some of their green part(6-7 pieces)
- ½ bunch dill, finely chopped
- 1 leek, finely chopped
- ½ kilo/17 oz spicy feta, crumbled
- ground pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 eggs, beaten with a little salt, or none at all if the greek feta is salty (usually from the regions of Sparta and Parnassos)
- ½ head of finocchio, finely chopped (optional) which adds a lovely hint of ouzo)
- 9 leaves of thin fillo sheets (completely thawed if frozen)
Blanch the spinach and leek: place the well-washed spinach and chopped leek in a large pot with two cups of water and blanch for 2-3 minutes.
Strain and squeeze spinach: empty the blanched spinach and leeks in a sieve and, once cold, squeeze it between your palms to remove all excess water. Spinach retains a lot of humidity and , if left unsqeezed, this will make the filling soupy and the fyllo soggy instead of crispy.
Prepare the filling: place the spinach and all the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix gently while adding 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and freshly ground pepper.
Assembling the pie: Oil well the base of a large Pyrex, baking dish or baking tray (30 x 25 cm/12 x 10 inches).
Place 2 sheets of fyllo to cover the tray’s base .
Brush top with olive oil and place one more on top.
Brush lightly the last fyllo too and add another (in total there should be 4 on the base, the top not brushed with olive oil).
Empty half of the pie filling and spread evenly covering all surface and well into the corners.
Place one more fyllo sheet and then the rest of the filling.
Cover the pie with four more fyllo sheets, brushing each with olive oil .
Fold the edges inwards before adding the last fyllo sheet. Oil this last one very well.
Lightly score the pie: with the edge of a sharp knife score the pie in 12-16 squares depending how big you want each piece to be when you cut it later.
Spray the pie’s surface with cold water or wet your palms with cold tab water and shake them over the pie – this will make the crust extra crunchy!
Extras: you can sprinkle sesame or sunflower seeds on your pie after spraying it with water. Nothing better than spinach, nuts and a crunchy crust! My personal winter paradise!
Baking: since the main ingredient of the pie – the spinach – is already blanched, it will need to bake for just 50 minutes in a preheated oven, at 180-200C/360F degrees.
Serving: let the pie cool down for about 10 minutes before serving. Cut along the scored squares and serve.
The Three Secrets of Success!
- Adding that one extra fyllo sheet between the filling! It soaks up all the extra moisture from the vegetables keeping the top layers dry and thus crunchier!
- Very dry spinach and leek! After blanching the vegetables queeze them well between your palms!If using frozen spinach, first thaw it well and then squeeze it like you do with the fresh .
- Well oiled and lightly dampened top pastry leaf! It’ll make it crispier! Adding the nuts will also help with that extra crrrrunch!
P.S. We never throw out anything in the Two Minutes Kitchen! An idea, if you bought fresh spinach from a farmers market? You can cut off the pinkish bouquet that forms at the bottom of the spinach stalks, just above the roots, and prepare with it a little tasty winter salad (note that in this part of spinach most of the soil is gathered , so it has to be well rinsed ). Steam them or boil them and them to pulses salads, such as chickpeas, lentils or small white beans. Chef Periklis Koskinas (now owner and chef at the Athens restaurant Cookoovaya) made some years ago a similar salad at the Athens famous fish restaurant MILOS, dressing it with just extra virgin olive oil, salt, paprika and vinegar or lemon.
This also makes a great lunchtime snack for the next day!
Throw nothing away!
What about a delicious (and easy) greek chicken pie?