Chef's Recipes

Horta, ricotta and almond lady fingers

Australian Gourmet Traveller Greek starter recipe for horta, ricotta and almond lady fingers by chef George Calombaris from Melbourne restaurant The Press Club.

By George Calombaris
  • 1 hr preparation
  • 20 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
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Horta, ricotta and almond lady fingers
Asia Minor dressing is a play on the influences of fruits that are Asian in origin and now considered heavily European. Horta loosely translates as wild greens. - George Calombaris


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 golden shallots, thinly sliced
  • 250 gm amaranth leaves (see note)
  • 250 gm baby English spinach
  • 150 gm ricotta, crumbled
  • 50 gm flaked almonds
  • 25 gm honey
  • 6 sheets of filo pastry
  • 50 ml clarified butter
  • For dusting: icing sugar
  • To serve: natural yoghurt
Asia Minor dressing
  • 250 gm red seedless grapes, halved lengthways
  • 100 gm sultanas
  • 1 golden shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 100 ml olive oil


  • 1
    Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add shallot and sauté until tender (3-5 minutes). Add amaranth and spinach and cook until just starting to wilt (6-8 minutes). Remove from heat to continue wilting. Squeeze excess water from spinach mixture, place in a bowl and add ricotta, almonds and honey. Stir to combine and season to taste with salt.
  • 2
    Preheat oven to 200C. Lay one sheet of filo on a clean work surface. Brush liberally with butter and fold in half to form a square, then brush again with butter. Spread one sixth of the spinach mixture along the edge closest to you, fold in sides to cover filling, then roll up tightly. Place seam-side down on a lightly greased oven tray and repeat with remaining pastry, butter and filling. Bake until crisp and golden (5-6 minutes).
  • 3
    Meanwhile, for Asia Minor dressing, combine all ingredients except for olive oil in a bowl. Gradually stir in olive oil and season to taste. Serve immediately with icing sugar-dusted lady fingers and natural yoghurt.


Substitute amaranth leaves, a local green often used in Greek cooking, with nettles, or a leafy green such as silverbeet.
Drink Suggestion: A bone dry white, such as assyrtiko. We like the Gaia Thalassitis 2006 from Santorini. Drink suggestion by Andrew Phillpot

  • Author: George Calombaris