‘I’m a devotee of Anna’s double greens and filo pie, from A Modern Way to Eat. It’s a delicious, satisfying lunch to enjoy with friends, and looks amazing as soon as it’s out of the oven – it’s also surprisingly simple to put together, so you don’t have to spend hours prepping in the kitchen.’
Sarah, Assistant Editor
This pie is loosely based on the Greek spanakopita but is much quicker and easier to put together. This recipe was one of the first that satisfied my boyfriend John’s unstoppable appetite after we gave up eating meat.
Using some clever shortcuts you can have this on the table in half an hour.
I use greens and chard here instead of all spinach, as they stand up a little more robustly in the pie and I like their lemony freshness against the feta. Spinach on its own would work too, though. I vary the greens depending on what’s in season.
I love using sheep’s cheese and for the most part prefer its taste to
cow’s cheese. Feta is a favourite – it works well with the food that I cook and I always have a packet in the fridge, to crumble over roasted carrots or through a quick avocado salad. Sheep’s milk has twice as much calcium as cow’s milk, and feta is actually suitable for people who have a sensitivity to cow’s milk, as most of the lactose is in the whey, which is not eaten after the feta has formed.
Try Greek and Turkish shops for the best feta. My local shop has a big barrel of it in the fridge and I go in and scoop out beautiful clean white rounds which are much softer and creamier than the kind you buy in packets.
1 bunch of spring onions (about 8), trimmed and roughly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground
250g spring greens or kale, stalks removed, leaves shredded
250g chard or spinach, leaves shredded, chard stalks chopped
grated zest of ½ an unwaxed lemon
3 organic or free-range eggs
200g feta cheese
a small bunch of fresh parsley, picked and roughly chopped
a small bunch of fresh dill, picked and roughly chopped
4 large sheets of filo pastry or 8 smaller ones
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Preheat your oven to 220°C/fan 200° C/ gas 7.
Put a 26cm non-stick ovenproof frying pan on a medium heat and add
a little olive oil, then add the spring onions with a pinch of salt and fry for a few minutes, until softened.
Next, add a couple of handfuls of spring greens or kale and cook until they have shrunk down a little. Keep adding like this until all the greens are in the pan, then cook until just wilted. Add the chard or spinach and let that wilt too.
Sprinkle over the lemon zest and season with more salt if needed and a bit of pepper. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool a little.
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, crumble in the feta and add the chopped herbs. Once the greens are cool, add these too. Wipe out the frying pan with some kitchen paper.
Get yourself a large sheet of baking paper, about 50cm long, and lay
it on your work surface. Drizzle it with a little olive oil, then scrunch it up into a ball so it’s all coated (this will stop it burning in the oven). Now lay it flat again.
Lay the filo over the baking paper in two layers – it will overlap here and there but that’s ok. Drizzle the lot with a bit more oil. Now carefully lift the paper to rest on top of the frying pan, with the excess hanging evenly round the edges.
Pour the egg and greens mixture into the middle and level out with a spoon. Fold the excess layers of pastry over the top to cover the top of the greens mixture.No need to be too neat here, as some movement and texture looks beautiful. Sprinkle over the poppy seeds and pop the pan into the oven
to bake for 20 minutes.
I like to serve this with a cucumber salad, simply dressed with dill and lemon, and some green leaves.