A Taste of Greece
Based on spanakopita, the classic Greek spinach and feta pie, this savory dish is surprisingly easy make at home.
I once visited the Mediterranean and was lucky enough to try a Greek dish called spanakopita. I had traveled to the edges of the Mediterranean Sea to visit a friend who was in school abroad. It was her holiday, and we spent our days on the beach, experiencing the culture and soaking up the architecture around us.
One night we decided to go to a fancy restaurant that was located around the corner. It was an open-air-concept building, and instead of walls it consisted of archways with a peak in the middle and nothing but views around us. There were large potted plants sitting everywhere, and you could smell the ocean as the breeze blew through, catching the white table cloths.
We ordered wine while we munched on an assortment of olives with hummus. I noticed an item on the menu called spanakopita. I am notorious for ordering items that I have never heard of or can’t pronounce — I didn’t even ask what it was, I just ordered it. It was served with lamb and a chickpea salad. Sounded good to me.
It was brought to our table, and I don’t know what I expected but it looked like a green veggie pie square. It was my first taste of the savory pie made of perfectly flaky phyllo, creamy spinach and cheese, and it was delectable. I knew I would try to recreate it when I got home.
This recipe is not that; instead, it is my humble rendition not worthy of being called spanakopita because my roots are far from Greece. However, it is about as close in flavor as this Southern girl could get.
I made this in a large casserole dish, but it is also known to be served in hand pies shaped in triangles or even rolls. This dish is composed of very simple and clean ingredients. The key fillings are spinach and feta cheese. The other flavor makers are fresh herbs and aromatics.
With just one bite I am transferred back to that table on the Mediterranean, sitting across from my friend while we laughed and discussed what our futures might look like. Sometimes it is just the simple things in life that make us most happy.