This spinach-potato pie feels like a hug – The Denver Post

By Yotam Ottolenghi, The New York Times

LONDON — Recently, when I posted a picture of a homely, frozen-spinach-filled pie on my Instagram, it got a lot of love. Usually, it’s red tomatoes that get the red hearts. It was interesting, then, to think about why this simple pie struck such a “Yes, please!” chord.

There are many words I could reach for to explain this pie’s appeal, and they’d all be true. It ticks many boxes. “Versatile,” for instance, with a filling that can be easily adjusted to what may already be in your fridge. Swiss chard works well instead of (or as well as) the spinach; mint and parsley along with (or instead of) the dill; cheddar instead of the feta, if you prefer; or even cubes of firm tofu for a vegan filling.

“Rustic,” a word often used euphemistically to mean “it may not look all that pretty or neat, but it will still taste great,” could also be reached for. “Frugal” also works, and nods to its appeal: no fancy kit or skills needed, no ingredients to go out of your way for.

You can “dress it up” with chermoula, for example, or “dress it down” with just a squeeze of lemon, to keep things simple. A puff-pastry pie shell filled with spinach and feta is “approachable” and “crowd-pleasing”; “healthy” and “hearty”; “unpretentious,” with a bit of a built-in “wow.”

But what is missing from this list of words, though, is the very thing that makes it so utterly lovable and desirable and “I need this in my life right now-able” in the first place. It, like all good dishes (and good relationships), feels like a great, cozy nurturing hug. And that’s exactly what we all need right now.