We have all see My Big Fat Greek Wedding and even though this plays on sensationalized, stereotypical Greek culture, I have found the people of Athens to be just as charming. What better way to begin our experience in Greece than with a cooking lesson from Eva, our Greek eficanato?
Walking into the cooking lesson we were greeted with Ouzo, a traditional Greek aperitif, and the room smelled of fresh herbs, so I knew that we were in for a treat. I sat down at the table with a cutting board, knife, and put my apron on with hopes that my unskilled kitchen skills would not be my Achilles heel. With my eyes on the prize and ambition high, the cooking began!
The lesson educated us on all the Greek classics such as roasted lamb, Tzatziki, stuffed grape, leaves, Greek salad, and yogurt. But I want to focus on my favorite dish, Spanakotiropita. I have had my fair share of this cheese-spinach pie but mostly the frozen kind from Costco. This little number kicked my Costco staple with just one bite! The herbaceous stuffing, tangy feta, and crispy filo, all come together in the most harmonious way as sent from the Greek Gods themselves. Out of the oven the smell of dough and fresh dill take over your nostrils but the real buzz worthy moment happens when you use your fork to take the first bite. The satisfying crisp of the dough breaks into salty, savory, deliciousness. Lifting my fork to meet my mouth, I take the first bite and my taste buds experience only what can be described as uforia.
Something this good must be as challenging to make as Odysseus’s journey home in the Odyssey, but it actually quite simple!
Follow these simple instructions and you will be cutting into those Greek staple in no time!
Every good Greek pastry starts with the perfectly flaky filo!
For the pastry you will need:
2 cups of flour
½ cup of water
½ cup of olive oil
2 teaspoons vinegar
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of pepper
Mix all the ingredients together while slowly adding flour gradually.
Add in enough flour until the dough no longer sticks to your hands.
Now, for the deliciously fresh filling:
For the filling you will need:
100 grams of grated feta cheese
150 grams of fresh spinach
½ of olive oil
¼ a bunch of dill
1 spring onion
½ white onion
2 teaspoons of milk
2 teaspoons of bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop leeks, dill, onion, and feta.
Add ingredients into a large bowl and mix together.
To tenderize spinach, add salt to fresh spinach,
Rub the salt and spinach together while squeezing out the excess water in the process.
Add the spinach to the large bowl with the other ingredients.
Who is ready to assemble our scrumptious pie?
Roll out fill dough into four equal sheets of dough.
In a 10 inch pan add olive oil to coat the bottom.
Add two of the fill dough sheets to the bottom of the pan.
Scoop filling into the pan, covering the filo.
Take the remaining two sheets a place them on top.
Pinch the ends of the dough to the pan to create a crust and seal the pie.
Cover with milk on the top of the pie for a golden crust.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Let cool and serve!
Tell me that wasn’t easy? Sit back, relax, and serve yourself a portion of this Greek classic.