Spanakopita/Byrek is one of my favourite recipes ever, in fact I consider it as a special treat as it is healthy, delicious and nice to look at. You can use spanakopita as a starter and even make a really good impression if you cook it to a party with your friends or family. I believe that what makes it special is the fact that it really enhances the flavour of the vegetables taking away the earthy and bland taste.
All you need is:
1 pack of filo pastry (I buy it in the supermarket in the fridge section)
400g of spinach (I used the frozen one)
1 medium size leek
1 medium size spring onion
5 tablespoons of yogurt
2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese (I used vegetarian Ricotta)
Dill (is essential) you can use the dried or the fresh one
4 tablespoons of olive oil
30gr of cheddar (optional)
3 tablespoons of milk
For the preparation:
Tip: make sure you leave the filo pastry in the fridge until the filling is ready (otherwise it will get dry).
On a frying pan put 2 tablespoon of olive oil, the slightly chopped leek, spring onion and cook them together on a medium heat for about 3 minutes after that add the spinach, the dill and let them cook for 15-20 min adding salt as you prefer.
When you notice that the spinach, the leek and the spring onion are perfectly mixed with each other and cooked, turn off the heat. Now add the ricotta cheese and the yogurt and mix together all the ingredients, taste to see if the filling needs more salt and then gride the cheddar (optional). Mix all the ingredients together and put the lead on, to let them rest (there you go, you have the most delicious filling).
Now turn the oven on (180C/gas mark 5/ 356F) and in the meantime take a small cup and add the milk and the remaining oil (this will be the mixture you will use to stick the filo pastries together and to do this I use a kitchen brush). Now take the filo pastry out of the fridge and gently unroll it on a clean surface, after that take a kitchen cloth, wet it very well and squeeze it so that it is damp not dripping wet and cover the whole filo pastry (this is a trick that a greek friend of mine tought me) so that the filo pastry doesn’t get dry.
Now it is time to place the whole thing on a tray. Take a medium-sized baking tray and put a baking paper on it after that take the first filo pastry brush it with the special mixture of milk and oil being careful to brush on the corners as well and place it on the tray, after that you repeat the same thing for another 5 filo pastries ( please don’t forget to cover the filo pastry with damp cloth after you take one filo pastry at a time) after that, add the filling and repeat the same thing with remaining filo pastries. Make sure you don’t put the filling everywhere, leave the corners empty after that carefully seal the borders and brush for the last time with milk and olive oil especially on the borders. Leave to cook for about 25 minutes or until is nice and golden and there you go you have just cooked something really nice and healthy. I am sure people will love spinach even more after trying this.