Thursday, December 13, 2012
One of my very favourite dishes of all time is spanakopitta. I have had it in many places and in many shapes and forms. But the one I love most is the one(s) that has evolved in my kitchen over time. Of course, it isn't the same every time as I might use silver beet instead of spinach, or frozen spinach instead of fresh. Or I sprinkle the top with sesame seeds instead of poppy seeds or I leave the top plain.
Spanakopitta is delicious fresh from the oven, but is still yummy heated in the microwave the day after and is fine cold too. I have used the mixture here to make a large spanakopitta but, of course, the filling can be used to make individual spanakopittes for each person or spanakopitakia for nibbles.
I cooked spanakopitta for a friend the other night and she described it as "refreshing." I hadn't really thought of it in conjunction with that word before but it certainly is so when served with a fresh tomato and cucumber salad dressed simply with olive oil and torn basil leaves. Hmmm, heaven on a stick, she might also have said!
375 gr ricotta
Parmesan or other yellow cheese
1/2 tsp Sambal oelek
1 garlic clove
4 spring onions
1 packet of frozen spinach or 1 bunch fresh spinach
Preheat the oven to 180c
Place the spinach in a microwavable bowl
Chop the spring onions roughly and add on top
Crush the garlic and add to the vegetables
Add Sambal oelek
Cover the bowl with greaseproof paper and cook in the microwave on high for about 5 minutes
Alternatively this can be cooked on the stovetop in the upper part of a steamer until the vegetables are tender
Meanwhile place the ricotta in a bowl
Crumble the fetta by hand on top and add a handful of grated Parmesan (or to taste)
Add the egg and stir to combine
When the vegetables are cooked add to the mixture and combine well
Using a pastry brush and olive oil line the bottom of a baking dish with about six layers of phyllo taking care to oil well between each layer
Add the cheese and spinach to the phyllo
Fold the phyllo over the mixture and cover with several layers of phyllo brushing with oil between each layer
Fold in the edges and oil the top layer
Sprinkle with poppy seeds
With a sharp knife cut the top of the pie into desired portions. DO NOT cut hrough the bottom of the pie
Cook for 45 minutes in 180c oven until top is crisp and golden
Leave to rest for 2-3 minutes after cooking
Then with a sharp knife cut the portions through to the bottom of the pie
Serve with salad.