Spring Greens Spanakopita


Photograph by Deborah Geering

Greek-style “spinach pie” doesn’t have to be made with spinach. I like to use a combination of mild and more pungent greens, with a splash of color from chopped rainbow chard stems or from lambs quarters (also known as magenta spreen). Don’t be afraid of filo. Although you need to keep it covered to prevent it from drying out, it is, after all, a ready-made dough, and this dish comes together quite quickly. —Deborah Geering


3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds spring greens (any combination of chard, spinach, lambs quarters, arugula, dandelion), washed
4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 pound filo pastry sheets, defrosted

Prepare the greens: Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add half of the greens, and saute until they wilt, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with remaining greens. When greens are cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess liquid, then coarsely chop. Set aside. Pour any liquid out of pan, add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and return to medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped greens and the parsley; season generously with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat and cool. Stir in the feta and egg.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter over low heat.

Assemble: Unroll the filo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with a damp towel, as it dries very quickly when exposed to air. Lightly brush the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with butter. Working quickly, place a sheet of filo on the pan and brush with butter. Repeat with 5 more sheets of filo. Spoon the spinach filling over the pastry, smooth the surface, and then cover with another 6 sheets of filo, brushing each with butter. Use the tip of a sharp knife to score the top 3 layers into 8 squares. Bake 40 to 50 minutes until the top is crispy and golden brown. Remove from oven. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares, following the score lines. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 servings