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Spanakopita (Mallos)

Courses: Starters and appetizers
Serves: 8 people

Recipe Ingredients

1   Spinach
1   Onion - chopped (medium)
1/2 cup 118mlOlive oil
1 cup 62g / 2.2ozChopped spring onions
1/2 cup 73g / 2.6ozChopped parsley
2 teaspoons 10mlChopped dill or fennel
1/4 teaspoon 1.3mlGround nutmeg
1/2 cup 73g / 2.6ozMizithra or cottage cheese
1 cup 146g / 5.1ozWell-crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup 59mlFinely grated kefalotiri *
4   Eggs - lightly beaten
  Freshly ground black pepper
10   Fillo pastry sheets
  Butter - melted

Recipe Instructions

*Note: if Kefalotyri cheese is unavailable, Parmesan may be substituted.

Serves: 8 as a first course, 4 as a light meal Oven temperature: 180 C (350F) Cooking time: 1 hour Wash spinach well and cut off any coarse stems. Chop coarsely and put into a pan. Cover and place over heat for 7-8 minutes shaking pan now and then or turning spinach so that juices can run out freely. Drain well in colander, pressing occasionally with a spoon.

Gently fry onion in oil for 10 minutes, add spring onion and fry for further 5 minutes.

Place drained spinach with onion-oil mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add herbs, nutmeg, cheeses and eggs and stir to combine. Check saltiness of mixture, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Brush a 25 x 30 cm (10 x 12 inch) baking dish with butter and line with a sheet of fillo pastry. Top with another 4 sheets, brushing each with butter. Spread filling in pastry-lined dish and top with remaining fillo, brushing each sheet again with butter. Trim edges if necessary and tuck pastry in on all sides. Brush top lightly with butter and score top layer of pastry lightly into squares using a sharp knife or razor blade. Sprinkle a little cold water on top to prevent pastry curling up.

Bake in a moderate oven for 45 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and leave for 5 minutes before cutting into portions for serving.

"The Complete Middle East Cookbook" by Tess Mallos.


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