Serves: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 50 minutes
The rain has returned to California (hallelujah!) and it’s green green everywhere. I couldn’t believe the amount of greens I saw at the farmers’ market this weekend. Leafy greens and salad greens in sizes from micro to macro, stacks of green-topped “spring” onion bulbs — in December. Oh, and a green wreath to wear on my head.
It put me in the mood for this pie, which is like a giant spanakopita and perfect for the lighter meals you need at this time of year to balance out the major food fests. It can be made in any combination. In addition to the holy trinity of spinach, chard and kale (remove the stems from those last two), I’ve used mustard greens, arugula, and past-prime mixed salad greens. For that Greek flavor, dill is a must, but you can throw in mint or cilantro, too, if they are languishing in your produce drawer. In other words, use this as an excuse to clean out your refrigerator.
If you’re intimidated by phyllo, listen up: if you follow the great method I learned from the original version of this recipe, it’s easier to do than a regular crust. The trick is to arrange the sheets in an asterisk pattern. Butter each sheet lightly, especially the edges, to keep it from drying out, but don’t worry if something tears or splits. Phyllo is very phorgiving…and if you spell it “filo,” it’s forgiving, too.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 sheets phyllo dough (about 1/3 of a 1-lb package)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 spring onions or 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb mixed fresh greens, such as spinach, chard and kale (stems removed) or other greens (see note)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill or a mix of dill, cilantro, and mint
freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs (large or extra-large)
4 oz (about 3/4 cup) crumbled feta cheese
1 oz (about 1/4 cup) grated parmesan
Preheat an oven to 375°. Melt the butter in a small pan and set aside on stove. Remove phyllo from freezer and let thaw in package while you prepare the filling. Set a 10-inch pie dish on your counter.
In a wide saute pan or frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the chopped onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the greens a handful at a time and cook, stirring, until wilted, before adding next handful to pan. When all greens are cooked (make sure any liquid in pan has evaporated), stir in the herbs then season mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a fork until well blended. Stir in the feta and parmesan then the greens mixture and stir well to combine.
Lightly brush the bottom of pie dish with some melted butter. Gently drape one sheet of thawed phyllo into the dish with the sides hanging over the edge; brush lightly with butter. Working quickly so phyllo doesn’t dry out, add another sheet and butter it, arranging the sheet at a slight angle to the one before to create an asterisk pattern. Repeat until you have used 8 sheets of phyllo total.
Spoon the greens mixture into the pie dish and spread out lightly. Top with remaining 4 sheets of phyllo, arranged in an asterisk pattern and buttering each one. Fold and roll the overhanging edges into the dish to create a twisted rim. With a sharp knife, slash a small cross in the top to let steam escape.
Bake on rack in bottom third of oven (this helps crisp the bottom crust) until golden brown, about 50 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. It’s equally good the next day cold from the fridge.