Normally, when I think of a spinach and feta pie, I think of some rendition of spanikopita. The savory Greek dish has a filling made with spinach, feta and eggs that is sandwiched between layers of filo dough. The spinach-feta combination is a winner in my book and I like it in any form. I used the idea of a spanikopita-type filling as inspiration for the filling of this savory, open-faced pie.
This is a good brunch dish, but is also a great vegetarian dinner option when you’re looking for something quick and easy. The filling is actually similar to a fritatta in makeup. I started with cooked garlic, onions and spinach, and added in eggs and feta cheese. The filling isn’t overly eggy but is enough to hold all the other ingredients together. It bakes up to be firm, but tender, and is best eaten when it is fresh out of the oven. The spinach – even though it is cooked before being added to the filling – could give off some additional moisture as the pie sits, whether at room temperature or in the fridge. The flavor of any leftovers is still good, of course, but perhaps not ideal for serving to guests.
One of the most interesting things about this pie is the crust. I used sliced (whole grain) sandwich bread pressed into the pie plate to form the base of the pie. It’s quick, easy and you can use any type of bread you like. Be sure to press the bread down very firmly so that it makes a good seal in the pie plate. It is ideal if you have two pie plates and can sandwich the bread crust in between them to press it into place. A traditional crust can be used (it should be baked before the filling is added if you go this route), but this makes it a bit more unique. The bread bakes up to be quite sturdy and presents a nice contrast for the slightly eggy filling. The top crusts can be removed if you prefer a more uniform/traditional appearance.
Spinach and Feta Pie
5-6 slices sandwich bread (any kind)
1/2 medium (red or yellow) onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
8-ounces fresh baby spinach
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
5 large eggs
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350F.
Butter a 9-10 inch pie plate and arrange bread slices so that they cover the sides and bottom of the pan (I fanned 5 around and placed one in the center). Press down firmly, or use another pie plate to compress the bread, creating a fairly even layer that covers the entire pie plate.
In a medium-sized frying pan, over medium-high heat, saute onions until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add spinach, cumin, salt and pepper and cook until spinach is well done and the mixture is no longer watery. Cool for at least 5 minutes, until warm but not hot.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs thoroughly. Stir in spinach mixture and feta cheese. Pour into prepared crust.
Bake for 25 minutes, until center of the pie is set and does not jiggle.
Cool for about 5 minutes, then cut into slices and serve.