Things look a little different around New York City these days. The tulips and daffodils are in full bloom as are the cherry blossom trees. The outdoor markets and specialty stores are loaded with colorful and vibrant spring vegetables such as today’s recipe star: Spinach.
Pastitsio (pahs-TEET-see-o) is a well-known Greek meal. Some refer to it as “the Greek lasagna” and just like lasagna, a large pan of this delicious pasta based favorite goes a long way. But this dish can be tricky; creating a nice thick layer of béchamel sauce on the top of layers of noodles and spiced seasoned meat is an art and when it doesn’t go your way, it can be a disappointing disaster. Trust me, I’ve prepared many of them (disappointing disasters, that is.). Sometimes I feel like I am praying and wishing for the béchamel to levitate atop the layers… but that never seems to work for me.
Off a highway in Antirrio, Greece, there is a small rest stop that boasts they have the best and largest selection of “pita” or “pie” (and I’m not referring to a New York pie, a.k.a. pizza, or a dessert pie such as apple – I’m talking savory pies made with handmade filo dough!). I’ve frequented this particular rest stop, and can confirm their boast is justified. On any given day they serve up about 20 different pitas – cheese, spinach, leek, sausage, egg, grilled peppers… you get the picture.
Introduce me to a Greek who doesn’t like potatoes, and I will call that person a liar! Greeks love to enjoy potatoes with practically every dish. A typical Greek potato is peeled, cut, slowly baked and dressed in oregano, olive oil and lemon juice. They are in a word, delicious. Today, I did not make a typical Greek potato- but a spiced-up, tasty and flavorful version of an oven-baked French fry.