Melissa's Spanakopita in Smith Street, Collingwood, sets the benchmark for Spanakopita. (check out http://indolentdandy.net/fitzroyalty/2009/06/22/tiropita-at-melissa-on-smith-st/)
I would often see hungry people lining up outside at lunch-time waiting patiently for the Spanakopita to come out of the oven..it was worth the wait. What made so fantastic was the filo for a start, which was made by the shop, and the ratio of pastry to filling was perfect.... not too much filling.
So, I suggest to make a good Spanakopita, try making your own filo... really it's not that hard. But not something to do if you're in a hurry or impatient in the kitchen. Check out the Greek episode of My Family Feast on SBS... it inspired me to make home-made filo.
Back to Spanakopita.. and my constant catch phrase.. it's all about balance. For Spanakopita it's about balancing the spinach with the cheese...
This receipe is adapated from a couple of different sources.. remember, you can use whatever greens you want.
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 eschallots (scallions/springs onions) finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbs fennel seeds
1 bunch spinach or similar green, washed and stalks cut
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper
100-200 gm fetta
1. Heat olive oil in large heavy frying pan over medium heat, and onions, garlic, fennel seeds and springs onions and sautee until nice and soft. To do this you will need to turn the heat to low.
2. Add spinach and cook until soft (around 5 minutes.)
3. Add pepper and allow to cool.
4. In another bowl, beat eggs and add feta and parmesan.
5. Preheat oven to around 180 degrees.
6. Grease the bottom of tray with butter, and layer each piece of filo, spreading with melted butter, until you have used around 8 sheets. Make sure you line the sides as well.
7. Combine spinach mixture, with egg mixture and parsley. Add salt to taste
8. Pour spinach mixture into/over filo and spread evenly.
9. Lay another layer of filo on top, and repeat the layering process with butter until you have used another 8 layers. Spread butter on the final layer.
10.Trim excess pastry from around edge and cut into across diagonally (both directions) half-way through pie. (Don't cut to bottom).
11. Bake for around 45 minutes to 1 hour until brown.
I like to cool my spanakopita a bit before eating, but this is personal taste.
I serve this with a salad of roma tomatoes and black olives, with red wine vinegar.