Summer Recipes Salads and Vegetables

Summer greens and soft cheese pie

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Served with the tomato salad, this green filled pie make a satisfying (and vegetarian) lunch. I use any leafy greens I may have a glut of in my garden – sorrel, dandelion, turnip tops and beetroot leaves – all taste excellent. It’s also a good opportunity to try out some British cheeses made in a Mediterranean style, such as Westcombe ricotta from Somerset and Medita, a feta style organic sheep’s milk cheese made in Sussex.

Serves 6

This recipe originally appeared in House & Garden magazine, photo courtesy of Helen Cathcart

Ingredients

600g large leaf spinach
400g chard, leaves and stalks
3tbsp olive oil
2 red onions
20g parsley leaves
15g dill
5g mint leaves
5g oregano leaves
250g Westcombe ricotta
300g Medita feta-style sheep’s cheese (or plain feta)
2 eggs
½ unwaxed lemon
4tbsp olive oil for brushing
100g filo pastry

Instructions

  • Wash the greens and remove any tough stalks, saving the chard stalks to cut into 1cm pieces.
  • Steam the chard stalks for 3-4 minutes then remove to a bowl, then steam the chard and spinach leaves for 3-4 minutes, until wilted. Depending on the size of your steamer, you may have to do this in batches. Alternatively, if you don’t have a steamer, boil in plenty of water, this will take about a minute less.
  • Strain the leaves and stalks and when they are cool enough to touch, squeeze them carefully to remove all excess water before roughly chopping.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil and gently sweat the onion, with a large pinch of salt, for about 5 minutes, until it is soft and sweet.
  • Wash the herbs and give them a rough chop, just enough to control them. Add these to the onions and stir well, then add the greens. Season well with salt and pepper and cook for just a minute so the flavours combine.
  • In another large bowl, beat the ricotta and eggs and then crumble in large chunks of the feta. Grate the zest from half the lemon and add 1tbsp of its juice. Fold the greens into the cheese mixture and season well.
  • Brush the inside of your baking dish with oil and lay a sheet of filo pastry so that it covers the bottom and comes up the sides, with any excess hanging over the edges. Brush the top of the sheet with oil and repeat this with six more sheets, brushing with plenty of oil between the layers.
  • Spoon the greens and cheese mixture into the lined dish and cover the top with another sheet of filo, tucking it in around the sides and brushing the top well with oil. Then fold the hanging edges over to make a parcel. Cover this with another three sheets, brushing the top with oil between each one and tucking it into the sides. You needn’t try to make it too smooth, a bit of rucked surface will create a good crisp texture on the top of the dish. Using a skewer, make a few holes in the top of the pastry to allow hot air to escape. Lightly sprinkle with water and bake for 45-50 minutes in the oven or until the top of the pie looks golden brown and the pastry is crisp. If it still looks pale after 40 minutes, you may need to increase the oven temperature to 200°C.

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