Spinach Pie. This is the recipe I’ve made time and again on special
occasions. It came long ago from a restaurant called Georgio’s, when it was
just a hole-in-the-wall on Hennepin Avenue, two blocks from my apartment
in South Minneapolis.
It’s a magnificent blend of delicate flavors: deep
green spinach, caramelized onions, garlic, smoky roasted
red peppers, white wine, a hint of cheese and a slight
sweetness to the crust. And it’s easy to make special with
decoration on top.
1 7/8 cups flour
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 pound salted butter
1 lightly beaten egg
1/4 cup ice water
2 red bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds fresh spinach
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup white wine
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
6 slices Swiss cheese
egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon soy milk, beaten together)
Combine the flour and sugar. Cut butter into the mixture until it
looks like coarse meal, but not batter. (I just “mush” the butter
into the flour between my fingers until I get the same result).
Add the beaten eggs and mix. Beat in the ice water a little at a
time. Using your hands, press it into a ball, wrap it in plastic
and refrigerate for an hour.
While the crust chills, coat the red bell peppers with olive oil
and roast. Originally, the recipe called for roasting in the oven
for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, then removing them from the oven and
placing them in a brown paper bag for another 30 minutes. If you
have a gas stove, you can just roast them over the burners until
their skin turns black.
Once the peppers have been roasted, peel the skin and remove the
seeds. Quarter them length-wise.
Clean the spinach and leave it wet. Using the 3 tablespoons of
cooking oil in a large skillet, sauté the onions and garlic
over medium heat. Cook the onions slowly until they turn a caramel
color. Add the white wine, heat, and stir for a minute. Add the
spinach and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the
spinach wilts. Stir so the vegetables don’t stick to the pan. Drain.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Cut the dough in half;
return half to the refrigerator. Sprinkle the dough and counter
lightly with flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. When
it is no thicker than 1/8 inch, place it in a 9-inch pie tin. Let
the excess dough hang over the sides.
Spread the spinach, garlic and onion mixture on the bottom of
the pie. Spread the Swiss cheese evenly over the spinach, and the
pepper slices atop the cheese.
Trim the excess from the bottom pie crust. Roll out the other half
of the dough. Cut a circle slightly larger than the top of the pie
tin and place it over the filling. Tuck the excess under the edge
of the bottom crust. Seal and flute the dough edge, pressing it
between your fingers.
Brush the top of the pie with egg wash. Bake at 400 degrees for
40 to 45 minutes, covering the edges with foil after 20 minutes to
prevent excess browning. Serves 6 to 8.