'Greek-Style' Cheese & Spinach Pie
For the 'hard cheese' specified, I use a roughly half-and-half mixture of parmesan and cheddar, but either would be fine on its own, or use a different, well-flavoured hard cheese. I do wonder about blue cheese as an idea, too, maybe with walnuts replacing the almonds? Perhaps another day...
600g spinach, (2 big bags from the supermarket)
handful flaked almonds
good pinch dried oregano
200g feta cheese (or similar Greek-style' or 'salad' cheese)
150g hard cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
good grating of fresh nutmeg
50g or so butter, melted
1 (supermarket) packet of filo pastry - 12 sheets
Wilt the spinach in a couple of batches by plonking it in a colander and pouring a kettle-full of boiling water over it. Remove it to a big bowl and leave to cool. Repeat with the second batch. When the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much liquid as you can, being careful in case there are any 'hidden' pockets of hot water. Set aside. Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan until just golden, remove to a dish and add the dried oregano immediately. Stir, and the delicious aroma of the herb will be released. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the cheeses, the garlic, a little black pepper and plenty of nutmeg (lush with spinach). You don't need to add salt, the cheese is plenty salty enough. Finally, add the nuts/herb mixture and the roughly chopped spinach. Mix well.
Brush the inside of a pie dish with melted butter and lay a few sheets of filo over to cover the base and overhang at the sides. Brush with butter again, then top with some of the spinach mixture. Repeat with another layer of buttered filo; another layer of spinach filling . Finish with a nice thick layer of buttered filo sheets. Sprinkle with another pinch of dried oregano, for pretty, if you like. Bake at 180°c for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden. Serve with a cucumber or tomato salad (or both, or something else entirely, if you like, hehehe). We nibbled on some black olives and feta that I'd marinaded in garlic oil beforehand.