Spanakopita with Wild Greens
These filo parcels, filled with greens and feta cheese, are commonly seen with a spinach filling these days, but in their native Greece there is a long tradition of gathering and cooking wild leaves. You could use all sorts of different leaves, but this combination – oniony wild garlic, herby ground elder, tangy sorrel and tender nettles – has a lovely flavour. Using ready-made filo pastry, these are very quick to prepare.
- 200g picked fresh nettle tips and leaves
- Handful (about 30g) common sorrel
- Handful (about 30g) ground elder leaves
- Large handful (about 60g) wild garlic
- 250g feta cheese
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 400g filo pastry, defrosted if frozen
- 200g butter, melted
- Rinse the nettles, sorrel, ground elder and wild garlic and drain them in a colander. Tip the leaves into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them stand for 1 minute, then drain the leaves in the colander again and rinse with cold running water to cool them completely. Squeeze out as much water as you can, then chop the blanched greens finely.
- Put the chopped greens into a large mixing bowl. Crumble in the feta and sprinkle over the Parmesan and nutmeg. Mix well, then taste and adjust the seasonings (remember that feta is salty). Add the beaten eggs and stir well to combine.
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Unfold the filo sheets and leave the stack covered with a damp tea towel to prevent them drying out. Take one sheet (covering the stack again) and lay it flat on your work surface with the shortest edge towards you. Brush the sheet all over with melted butter, then lay another sheet on top. Brush the surface with melted butter, then cut the sheet in half down its length to give two 10cm-wide strips.
- Put a heaped tablespoon of filling in the middle of one strip, near to the end closest to you. Fold the bottom right corner of the pastry up to the left side to make a triangle. Fold the triangle upwards along its top edge and continue folding up the strip of filo until you reach the end. Brush both sides of the parcel with melted butter and set it on the baking sheet.
- Repeat with the rest of the pastry and filling. Bake the parcels in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes, until golden and crisp. Serve hot or cold.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK