Lighter spanakopita

1 of 5-a-daycalciumfeta piefilo pastry piefolategreek piespinach piesummer




Pack the spinach into a large heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over and press the spinach down with a wooden spoon. Leave for 1 min to wilt, stirring a couple of times so all the leaves are submerged. Tip into a large colander and place under running cold water to cool quickly. Drain well – squeeze out any excess water by pressing the spinach down with the wooden spoon, then squeezing with your hands. Using kitchen paper, pat the spinach dry into a compact shape, lay it on a board and roughly chop, then set aside.

Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the shallot, spring onions and garlic, and fry over a high-ish heat for 3-4 mins, stirring often, until softened and just starting to brown. Lower the heat, tip in the spinach and stir for 1 min only to finish drying. Season with pepper and a good pinch of nutmeg, and leave to cool.

Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and put a baking sheet in to heat up. In a bowl, stir the ricotta into the beaten egg and mix in the 2 tbsp dill, the chives and mint. Season with pepper and a pinch of salt.

Lightly oil a 20cm square x 4cm deep cake tin. Mix the remaining oil with the 1 rounded tsp dill. Lay the filo pastry sheets on a large board. Brush the top one with a little of the dill oil, then carefully lower it into the tin to line the base and 2 of the sides, with an overhang on both sides. The pastry doesn’t have to fit in smoothly – a few wrinkles and folds in it are fine. Brush a bit more oil over the second pastry sheet and this time lay it down in the tin the other way round, so it drapes over and lines the base and the other 2 sides. The tin should now be completely covered, with a pastry overhang all round. Repeat the criss-cross layering with 2 more oiled filo sheets.

Stir the ricotta mixture into the spinach, then crumble in the feta. Lightly stir it in so you leave a few chunky pieces. Spoon this filling into the lined tin and level it. Bring the pastry sides up and over the filling, then brush a little oil over them. Brush the remainder of the oil over the last filo sheet on the board. Cut the sheet in half widthways and lay one half over at a time, in big folds, to cover the filling and give you a pastry topping.

Place the tin on the heated baking sheet and bake for 25-30 mins until the pastry is crisp and golden. Leave to cool for 10-15 mins. Remove the tin and transfer to a serving plate. If your tin doesn’t have a loose bottom, carefully upturn it onto a flat board, then flip it over onto the serving plate. Serve warm or cold with minted yogurt dip and a tomato, cucumber & pepper salad (see below), if you like.