Middle Eastern herb filo pie
Another gem from Ottolenghi. With Sephardic roots, this is a wonderful centerpiece for a dinner party, whether vegetarian or not.
2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for brushing the pastry layers
1 large onion, diced
1lb Swiss chard, stems and leaves finely shredded but kept separate
5 oz celery, peeled and thinly sliced
2 oz green onions (scallions) chopped
2 oz arugula
1 oz flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 oz fresh mint, chopped
2/3 oz dill , chopped
4 oz ricotta cheese, crumbled
4 oz aged Cheddar cheese, grated
2 oz Greek feta cheese, crumbled (not pre-crumbled)
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large organic eggs
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp superfine sugar (caster sugar)
9 oz filo pastry
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Pour the olive oil into a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 8 minutes without browning. Add the chard stems and celery and continue to cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chard leaves, increase the heat to medium high and stir as you cook for about 5 minutes or until the leaves wilt. Add the green onion, arugula and herbs and cook for 2 mins more. Remove from the heat and transfer to a colander and cool.
Once the mixture is cool, squeeze out as much water as possible and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the three cheeses, lemon zest, eggs, salt and pepper and sugar and mix well.
Lay out a sheet of filo pastry and brush it with some olive oil. Cover with another sheet and continue in the same manner until you have 5 layers of filo brushed with oil, all covering an area large enough to line the sides and bottom or an 8 1/2″ pie dish, plus extra to hang over the rim of the dish. Line the pie dish with the pastry, fill with the herb mix and fold the excess pastry over the edge of the filling, trimming the pastry as necessary to create a 3/4″ border.
Make another set of 5 filo layers brushed with oil and place them over the pie. Scrunch up the pastry a little to create a wavy, uneven top and trim the edges so it just covers the pie.
Brush generously with olive oil and bake for 40 mins until the filo turns a nice golden brown.
Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature.