2 mashing potatoes, about 450g
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely diced
400g silverbeet (Swiss chard) or rainbow chard, thick stalks removed
400g English spinach or baby spinach
50g unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
a good handful of grated parmesan (optional)
180g plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
30g unsalted butter, softened
1 egg yolk, beaten with a dash of milk (or just milk)
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

My favourite savoury strudel is based on a spinach strudel, and baked rather than boiled. As a finishing touch, I love scattering poppy seeds on the dough; this is not essential, but as my mother would say, ‘L’ocio ga la sua parte’ (‘The eye also plays a role’).

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1.To make the filling, peel the potatoes and cut each into about six pieces.
2.Place in a saucepan filled with cold water, add a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil.
3.Cook, covered, until fork-tender. Drain and set aside.
4.Meanwhile, place the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
5.Add the onion, with a pinch of salt, and cook slowly for about 20 minutes, or until the onion is soft, sticky and just starting to caramelise.
6.Add the cooked potato and stir through with a fork, mashing as you go – the potato only needs to be roughly mashed.
7.Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
8.Cut the silverbeet leaves into thin strips and roughly chop the spinach.
9.Blanch them in a saucepan of salted boiling water, then drain well and set aside to cool.
10.Taste once cooled to ensure they are sufficiently salted.
11.To make and roll the pastry, use the same method as for the spiced cheese strudel , finishing up with a sheet of pastry 50cm x 60cm.
12.Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F) fan-forced.
13.When you are ready to assemble the strudel, turn the dough so a longer edge is facing you. Trim any thick edges and discard.
14.Brush the dough with the melted butter.
15.Scatter the breadcrumbs over the bottom one-third of the dough, leaving a 4cm border free at each end (this is where you will place the filling).
16.The other two-thirds of the pastry should have no breadcrumbs or filling on it. Evenly scatter the cooled greens over the breadcrumbs, then the mashed potato, and finally the parmesan (if using).
17.Starting from the edge of pastry that has the filling, use the tablecloth to help you roll the strudel into a long sausage enclosing the filling, a little bit at a time, taking care not to roll it too tightly.
18.When the strudel has been rolled completely, roll it in on itself to form a spiral and carefully slide it onto a large sheet of baking paper.
19.Transfer the strudel and baking paper to a 24cm ceramic pie tin.
20.Brush the outer surface of the pastry with the egg wash and scatter over the poppy seeds.
21.Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the top is deep golden.
22.Check halfway through cooking and reduce the oven temperature if the strudel is browning too much.
23.Wait at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving; the strudel is also lovely at room temperature.
24.Once cooled, the strudel will keep in an airtight container in a cool spot for a couple of days.

This is an edited
extract from Istria
by Paola Bacchia,
published by Smith
St Books, $65.
Photographs by
Paola Bacchia.