Green Pie from Thessaloniki
Pastels (pies) or pastelikos (little pies) were traditionally made by the Jews of Thessaloniki for the Sabbath, bar mitzvahs and other special occasions. Most pastels use a simple pastry made from olive oil, flour and water – except for this one, which is always prepared with filo pastry. Pastel verde is usually filled with a mixture of spinach, lettuce, leeks, spring onions (scallions) and herbs, but other greens can also be used, such as Swiss chard, beet greens, rocket (arugula), watercress or young, tender dandelion greens. — Paola Gavin, author of Hazana
- 1 Pound mixed greens
- About 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 spring onions (scallions), thinly sliced
- 1 leek (including the green part), trimmed and thinly sliced
- A handful of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- A handful of finely chopped dill
- 7 Ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 Cup freshly grated parmesan or kefalotyri cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 or 9 large sheets of fresh or thawed frozen filo pastry
- 2 –3 tablespoons sesame seeds
Wash the greens well, then cut into 1cm (1/2 in) slices. Cook in a covered saucepan for 7–8 minutes or until tender – the water on the leaves is sufficient to prevent scorching. Drain well.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy saucepan and add the spring onions and leek. Cook over a moderate heat until they are starting to turn golden. Add the parsley and dill and cook for a further 3 minutes. Stir in the greens and simmer for 2–3 minutes.
Place the feta, eggs and parmesan in a bowl and mix well. Stir in the greens mixture and season the filling with salt and pepper.
Brush a 23cm (9 in) spring form cake tin with olive oil. Place a sheet of filo pastry over the top and brush lightly with olive oil. Repeat until half of the filo pastry sheets have been used. Spoon in the filling. Cover with another sheet of filo pastry and brush lightly with olive oil. Repeat until all the sheets of filo pastry have been used. Tuck in the edges of the filo pastry. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top, then bake in a preheated 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 oven for 40–45 minutes or until the top is golden. Remove from the oven, unclip the tin and serve hot.
Recipes excerpted with permission from Hazana: Jewish Vegetarian Cooking by Paola Gavin (Quadrille October 2017)