wild greens cheese pie
The spanakopita or spinach pie is a very traditional Greek dish, made from layers of paper like pastry called phyllo or filo pastry. It can be made as a pie or as individual triangles great to serve as a snack, side dish or ideal for a healthy lunch or dinner. Traditional the spanakopita is filled with silver beet, feta cheese, dill and parsley using eggs to bind it together. In this recipe I have used several different greens, vegetables and herbs to give it a unique flavour. This is a slightly different take on the Greek pie, but I can assure you, ever so delicious.
- 1 bunch of silver beet, stalks and leaves
- 1 bunch of kale or cavalo nero**
- 1 bunch of Chinese choy sum, English spinach or other greens
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1 cup sliced spring onion (scallion) use the white and green part
- 1 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed of most of its liquid
- 1 medium potato, peeled and grated
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 90g feta cheese
- 100g grated parmesan cheese
- 90g ricotta cheese( the firm ricotta from the deli)
- 6 eggs
- Handful of basil, mint and parsley leaves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon of butter melted
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Filo pastry *
- 1/2 tablespoon of sesame seeds
*The best filo pastry I find is the Antonia brand which you will find in the chilled fresh pasta section of the supermarket, usually near the garlic breads.
**Cavallo Nero is a type of kale although it has a black leaf, which Italians generally associate with northern Italian cooking and Tuscany. A member of the brassica family along with kale, cavolo nero is a popular ingredient in many classic Italian meals from soups to vegetable dishes it’s a leafy cabbage that doesn’t form a tight ball like others, but rather resembles palm fronds, with deep greenish black leaves and pronounced ribs, and unlike the curly kale, cavallo nero surfaces have a distinctive bubbly appearance.
You can use 500g of frozen chopped spinach instead of fresh. Thaw the spinach overnight in a colander and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can before mixing it with the other ingredients.
Pre heat your oven to 180c
Steam or boil the greens until just cooked, drain well and allow them to cool. Roughly chop the greens and place them into a large bowl. Heat the olive oil in a small frypan over a moderate high heat and cook the spring onions, grated potatoes and zucchini for 5 minutes or until softened, add this to the chopped spinach. Combine the lemon zest, crumbled feta, grated parmesan and the crumbled ricotta with the eggs and mix well. Pour this into the spinach with the chopped mixed herbs and the seasoning. Stir to combine all of the ingredients and set aside while you prepare the pastry.
Into a 22 x 31cm baking dish or similar, lightly grease the base and sides with the combined melted butter and the olive oil, lay down a sheet of filo pastry and brush again with the oil and butter, lay down one more and then pour in the filling. Smooth the filling over to ensure that its even, then lay down a sheet of filo on top. Brush another piece with the oil and butter and place it buttered side down, repeat one more time and gently brush the top sheet with the remaining butter and olive oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake for 50 minutes.