It takes hundreds of years to ruin a dish like this, and we very nearly succeeded. That’s the trouble with history. But I have always loved this eggy pie of spinach and feta in a thin shell of filo pastry, when freshly made and served still warm from the oven. The whole house fills with its wondrous smells as everyone tries to be civilised and not look too hungry. Filo pastry is easy to work with, as long as you do it quickly and don’t expose it to too much air during preparation. And remember, you can’t have enough spinach.
Heat oven to 180°C (350°F). Cut off any major stalks from the spinach and rinse the leaves well in a sink of cold water. Drain and chop roughly.
Heat olive oil in a pan and add spinach and green onions, tossing until wilted. Drain in a sieve or colander, then squeeze in your hands when cool, to get rid of excess juices. Mash feta cheese with a fork, beat in the eggs, dill and lots of pepper. Mix cheese with spinach, tossing well.
Cover filo pastry with a lightly damp, clean cloth, and lay out the top layer of pastry. Brush pastry with melted butter, and place in an lightly oiled ovenproof baking dish 24 cm by 28 cm (9½ by 11 in), allowing some pastry to overlap sides. Continue brushing pastry sheets with butter and laying into dish until you have 6 layers, then fill dish with spinach and cheese mixture and top with 6 more layers of buttered pastry, tucking in the edges.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden and the filling has set. Cool for 10 minutes or so, then cut into squares to serve.
© 1998 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.