MARITHOPITA TIS LEFKADAS
Makes 8 to 10 servings
- 4 pounds small picarel, gutted and washed
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 cup short-grain rice
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste diluted with 1?4 cupwater (optional)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 1 recipe Basic Homemade Phyllo Dough at room temperature
1. Remove and discard the heads and backbones from the picarel. Finely chop the fish. Combine the fish, onions, rice, salt, pepper, diluted tomato paste if using, and olive oil in a large bowl.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Divide the phyllo into 4 equal balls. Oil a 13- by 9-inch baking pan. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the first ball into a rectangle slightly larger than the pan. Place it in the pan and brush it generously with olive oil. Do the same with the next ball. Spread the filling evenly over the phyllo, then roll out and layer the remaining 2 phyllo balls the same way, brushing each generously with olive oil. Join the top and bottom edges by pinching them together and rolling around the pan to form a thick rim. Score the pie into diamond-shaped wedges or into squares without cutting through to the bottom of the pan and bake until golden, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.
I don’t recommend commercial phyllo for this recipe because it changes the texture of the dish completely. There are some commercial phyllo products available, however, that resemble the thick homemade pastry this recipe calls for. You can find them in Greek and Middle Eastern food shops under the name horiatiko or spitiko phyllo.