Spinach & Pine Nut Felucca Tart

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Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

  • About

The original Neapolitan pizza, with its thin crisp base and restrained topping of tomato, Mozzarella, olive oil and basil, charms us with its integrity. The dough is just right, the seasoning balanced and the goods are delivered — consistently. We know precisely what is on offer and rely on adherence to the known formula. This is an important part of the pleasure, for we all know what horrors can happen when it is ineptly reworked... pineapple and peperoni on a deep-dish crust... one shudders in disbelief. This is a case, however, where having understood the essentially simple nature of pizza we can go on to experiment to good effect.

The following has vaguely Turkish qualities, with its spinach and pine nuts, while the goats’ cheese produces a much sharper finish than Mozzarella. Is it a pizza? No. With the edges crimped, it looks more like a boat, perhaps a felucca, the Middle Eastern working sail-boat. Well, it does if you squint a bit after a couple of bottles of Buzbag, that attractively named Turkish red wine.


  • 450 g/1 lb pizza dough
  • 450 g/1 lb spinach
  • 16 stoned black olives
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • 5-6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small round goats’ cheeses
  • 1/4 nutmeg
  • salt and pepper



Divide the risen dough into 4, knock the pieces down, flour lightly and leave to prove again covered with a cloth.

Trim and wash the spinach, dry and reserve. Chop the olives. Peel and chop the garlic finely. Peel and slice the onion thinly. Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over a low heat, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 250°C/450°F/gas9 - even more if you can, as hot as you can get it. Do this at least 30 minutes before cooking.


Over a low heat, soften the onion rings until translucent in a little olive oil and reserve.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan over a moderate heat. Add the garlic, stir briefly, throw in the spinach and toss to wilt.

Roll out the dough into 4 long ovals about 30x20 cm/12 x 8 in.

Distribute the spinach between them and spread out, leaving a clear rim about 4 cm/1½ in wide all around the edge. Crumble the cheese over the spinach and scatter over the nuts and olives.

Pull the sides up and over towards the middle. Lay the onions in the exposed centre. Season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Bake for 10 minutes.


Serve hot, warm or room temperature.

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