Inspired by spanakopita, a Greek savory spinach pie typically made with feta, this version came about when I was homesick and overbought greens (anyone else have this problem? Just me?)
I lived in Astoria, Queens, an historically Greek neighborhood in NYC, for 8 years. My friends and I judged the local tavernas by their spanakopita. Cheesy, flaky and usually molten hot, you had to order it for the table. After moving clear across the country to the SF Bay Area, I missed these boisterous Greek dinners.
Springtime is when all the greens come out to play at the farmers market. This savory, flaky pie was born when I started swapping in my usual spinach for chard, kale, tender beet greens - whatever I had on hand. The result? A Cali-meets-Astoria wonder with a mountain of green stuff (don’t worry, I didn’t skip out on the feta!) The best part: this savory pie works for any meal of the day, morning to night. A sprinkling of za’atar, a herbaceous spice blend, is a nod to the Arab breads served at one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, Reem’s. Give it a try this spring!
- 1/ 3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, such as Brightland
- 1 leek, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces greens with tender stems such as spinach, chard, kale, arugula, beet greens or mustard greens, roughly chopped (about 8 cups, chopped)
- 3 eggs
- 1/ 4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 7 ounce block feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup finely chopped herbs with tender stems (such as dill, parsley, basil, mint and/or chives), plus more for garnish
- 12 (12x17-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed in the refrigerator
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 2 teaspoons za'atar, such as NY Shuk, plus more for topping
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut a piece of parchment paper into a 12” circle.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 10-inch cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until soft, but not brown.
Working in batches, add greens, one handful at a time, stirring to wilt slightly before adding the next batch. To speed things up, cover the skillet to help wilt the greens. It will look like a lot of greens! Don’t worry, they will cook down. Transfer greens to a large bowl to cool. Wipe out skillet, let cool.
Whisk eggs, yogurt and lemon zest. Stir in feta, herb and 1 teaspoon za’atar. Season with salt and pepper. Add egg mixture to cooled greens, stirring until combined.
Mix remaining 1/3 cup olive oil with garlic, season with salt and set aside.
Carefully unroll phyllo dough and stack sheets on a large baking sheet. Cover with a thin, damp towel to keep the phyllo from drying out. Reroll and store remaining phyllo in the freezer (for future pies!)
Line skillet with a round piece of parchment paper, crinkling it so it lays flat, brush parchment with a little garlic oil. Brush a piece of phyllo with garlic oil, and transfer to skillet, oil side up, gently arranging it so it lies flush with the sides of the skillet. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets, brushing with oil and placing on top of the previous layer placing each at different angle so there is overhanging phyllo around the entire pan.Fill crust with greens mixture. Carefully fold overhang phyllo over filling, creating a rustic crust. It’s OK if some phyllo breaks apart, tuck it back into the crust.
Brush or drizzle crust with remaining garlic oil sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon za’atar. Bake for 50-60 minutes until phyllo is golden brown and filling is set. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Sprinkle with more herbs and za’atar before lifting parchment out of skillet and slicing into pieces. Serve warm or at room temperature.