Where Tuesday is my partner's comfort food day, Wednesday brings my childhood memories to the table. Growing up, one of my favorite dishes that my mother made was her spinach pie.
I'm not totally clear on how she learned to make it, but the savory dish has been my request every time I go back home.
The one thing that I never loved was the crust. In a moment of deep cravings of home and the realities of a supermarket in Berlin, I landed on using phyllo dough to make little triangles, almost like empanadas. These probably resemble a greek version of spanakopita quite closely. It's easy to make these vegan by simply omitting the cheese. They're just as delicious.
450g frozen spinach, thawed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 dash pepper
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp red chile flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 medium onion, diced
400g low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
250g filo dough
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat. Add the onion and cook a few minutes until it’s translucent but not golden. Add in the garlic, let cook until softened, and then add the red chile flakes and fennel seeds. Season with some salt and pepper.
Try to defrost the spinach and press out any excess water, but if you’re in a pinch, you can try to do this all in the pot, it will just take much longer to boil out the water. Add the spinach to the pot and try to cook off as much liquid as possible. Once there is no more liquid left, take the pot off the heat.
Add in the dried oregano, the fresh basil, dill, and parsley. Give it a good stir. Then add in the cottage cheese. Stir to combine everything. Give the mixture a taste and check to see if it need a bit more salt.
Fold two sheets of filo dough in half over the longest side. You’ll then line them up so as to create one long and kind of skinny filo sheet that has two layers of dough. Lay the filo dough so that the long edge is parallel to the edge of your counter. Add about 1 cup of filling, maybe a little less, to the right corner. You’ll want to form it into a bit of a triangle shape to help you along, but no need for precision here. Then, take the bottom right corner of the dough, and gently try to bring it up to meet the top edge of the filo. Continue to fold it through the sheet until your reach the end (see the diagram). Try to tuck in the loose edge into one of the folds, and place that seam-side down on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
If your spinach mixture has too much liquid, add in some cornstarch or potato starch to thicken the mixture up a bit.
Every Sunday evening, I send out a newsletter with the following week's dinner menu, and the seasonal produce featured. The newsletter is free, and I won't share or sell your email address.
If it turns out it's not the content you're looking for, you can easily unsubscribe with a link at the bottom of the email. This project was originally a way to wrap my head around the evolving seasonal produce in the supermarkets.
I'm so excited to share the journey and learn from you as I go along!
- Julia Feld