Recipe: Nettle & Feta Filo Pie – a forager's take on spanakopita »
From Summer on Fat Pig Farm by Matthew Evans
Contributed articles and stories
In Summer on Fat Pig Farm, Matthew Evans serves up a whole book brimming with recipes for warmer weather, although this one can be made at any time of year.
This recipe helps clean up the paddocks, clear them of weeds that is! But don't worry if you can't get the weedy ingredient as any decent green will do for this tasty pie:
Nettle and Feta Pie
We have the occasional early summer flourish of stinging nettles, and find comfort knowing that eating nettles is our way to clean up the paddocks. But don’t worry if you don’t have them, because any decent green – such as silverbeet (Swiss chard) or a mixture – can work well too.
I’ve used home-made filo because it’s just so different to the commercial stuff – sturdy and earthier, albeit without the finesse – but you can use ready-made pastry.
For the pie:
- 6-8 handfuls fresh nettle leaves, stalks removed, well washed (about 1 cup blanched)
- 1 leek, green part only, washed and finely sliced
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons coarsely chopped dill
- 100 g (3½ oz) good-quality feta cheese, diced or crumbled
- 200 g (7 oz) fresh ricotta cheese
- 4 eggs
- lemon wedges, for serving
For the filo pastry:
- 250 g (9 oz/nearly 2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
- 110 ml (3¾ floz) warm water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- about 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Throw the nettles into a big pot with the lid on and wilt them over low heat; the water left after washing will help them steam. Let them cool, then squeeze vigorously to remove all the liquid. [Ed: when picking nettles, wear gloves, use secateurs and only pick the top tender shoots. I pick them straight into a large saucepan, to avoid double handling and risk of stings later. Rinse under cold water before cooking].
To make the filo pastry, mix all the ingredients except the oil together to make a dough. Knead for 4–5 minutes to a smooth texture. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour before rolling.
Using a generous amount of flour and a big rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 40 x 80 cm (16 x 32 inch) rectangle.
Cut into 8 equal squares (don’t worry if they’re not perfectly shaped), brush oil liberally on each, stack them on top of each other (ensuring the top isn’t oiled, but rather floured), and roll this out to make an evenly thick piece of pastry 40 cm (16 inches) square.
Fry the leek well in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until soft, but not brown, and put it in a medium bowl with the nettles and the dill.
Add the feta, ricotta, a generous pinch of salt and a good few grinds of black pepper. Mix well, then stir in the eggs.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
Make the pie by laying the pastry into a greased 30 cm (12 inch) pie dish lined with baking paper, or you could do it more free-form by using a baking tray. Place the filling in the middle and spread it out a little so there’s enough pastry to bring up over the top to form the pie.
Brush the top generously with more olive oil. Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden brown.
Cool in the dish. Serve at room temperature with lemon wedges..
This recipe from Summer on Fat Pig Farm by Matthew Evans is reproduced with the kind permission of the author and publisher. See links below for further recipes.
Summer on Fat Pig Farm by Matthew Evans is published by Murdoch Books (Sydney, NSW, Nov 2015, HC, 256pp, RRP A49.99) and is available at all good bookstores or directly from the publisher here »
Or search for it online at Booko.com »
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