The classic spinach & feta combination never gets tired. These savoury Greek pastries are delicious and very easy to make. We worked out a production line (thanks Tricia & Orla) and had them assembled in no time! Great as a starter or snack with drinks. Perfect entertaining food.
Wine Suggestion: If you can find an Assyrtiko, a crisp and delicious Greek white, then you’ve got a great match. Unfortunately it can be hard to find good Greek wines so stick to the Mediterranean and search for a Fiano or Greco di Tufo from Italy. Failing this we’ve had crisp Touraine Sauvignon Blancs with this as well to great effect.
Spanakopita (Spinch, mint & feta pastries) – makes 18-20
- 500g spinach
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ small onion, finely chopped
- 2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
- 100g Greek feta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp finely grated Greek kefalotiri cheese or Parmesan
- a pinch of finely grated nutmeg
- 2 tbsp chopped mint
- 250-275g pack of filo pastry (about 6 sheets)
- 100g butter, melted
Wash and dry the spinach (remove the stalks if they look tough). Finely shred the leaves.
Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook gently until soft but not browned. Gradually add the spinach, a handful at a time, until it has all wilted. Tip into a colander and drain, pressing out the liquid with a wooden spoon, then return to the pan with the scallions and cook for 1 minute. Leave to cool.
Crumble the feta into a large bowl and roughly mash with a fork – you can leave it a bit chunky. Mix in the eggs, Parmesan, the spinach mixture, nutmeg, mint and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
Unroll the sheets of filo and cut the stack lengthways into strips about 7.5cm wide. Brush the top layer with melted butter. Put a heaped teaspoonful of the filling in the centre of one strip, at the end closest to you, and fold one bottom corner of the pastry diagonally over the filling, so that the corner touches the opposite side to make a triangle. Then fold over the filled triangular corner, and keep folding it along the whole strip in a triangular parcel. Repeat to make all the spanakopita.
Brush the undersides of each parcel with more butter and place on a lightly buttered baking tray. Brush the tops with butter and bake for 25 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.
These are best served straight from the oven while the pastry is still crispy but they are also good at room temperature.
(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes, BBC Books, 2007.)