Corner shop spanakopitta
This spinach pie is a pretty loose take on the classic Greek spanakopitta. We can’t say frozen spinach is an ingredient we use often but you can now get decent frozen whole leaf stuff, and it works well here. Of course, you could use fresh spinach, wilted, drained, squeezed and chopped, if you prefer.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Put the frozen spinach into a saucepan with a splash of water. Cover and heat gently, stirring from time to time, until completely defrosted. Tip into a colander or sieve to drain off all water, pressing with a wooden spoon to help it along.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the spice seeds and let them cook for a minute or two, shaking the pan frequently, then add the onion and sauté for 5–10 minutes, or until soft and golden. Add the thyme.
When the spinach has cooled a little, squeeze as much liquid out of it as you can with your hands, then chop it roughly. Combine with the onion, along with a squeeze of lemon juice and plenty of salt and pepper. Set aside 2–3 tablespoons of the beaten egg for glazing and stir the remainder into the spinach and onion mixture.
Spoon half the spinach mixture into a 25 x 20cm (or thereabouts) ovenproof dish. Scatter over the cheese and toasted pine nuts, then top with the remaining spinach. Brush a little of the reserved beaten egg around the rim of the dish.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry (unless, of course, it’s ready-rolled), to a thickness of about 5mm. Lay the pastry over the dish and trim off the excess overhanging the rim. Press the edge of the pastry down so that it sticks to the rim. Brush the pie with the reserved beaten egg and bake for about 25 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Serve immediately.
- 1kg bag frozen whole-leaf spinach
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin, fennel or caraway seeds (whichever is handy)
- 1 large onion, finely sliced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only, chopped
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 100g soft goat’s cheese or feta, broken into small chunks
- 35g pine nuts, toasted (or roughly chopped cashews)
- 375g all-butter, ready-made puff pastry (ideally ready-rolled)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
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