Makes 1 10″ pie
My friend, Sophia, is more like a cooking soulmate. On my first day of culinary school I wandered over to a table where she and J sat and that was that. Our culinary spirits were forged and we’d forever be bound to each other somehow through food. We are friends and colleagues, and we push each other to our taste buds’ edge, challenging what we know in favor of learning more.
Sophia is Greek and because of her, I’m no longer intimidated by fillo. When it came time for us to work with that paper thin dough, I, as well as the rest of my classmates, worked ever so carefully, trying not to tear or fold or otherwise “damage” the dough. Seeing Sophia handle the fillo was a revelation. She mastered it, let it crumple and tear as if that’s what she intended. She brushed oil on it (or was it butter) with respect but with purpose. She taught me the Greek way and I’ve never looked at fillo the same way again.
Now, take the delicate nature of fillo and couple it with hearty greens like kale and you’ve got a match your tastebuds will be grateful for. Caramelized onions and ricotta and feta create a savory yet sweet taste to this hearty, yet flaky pie. It sounds like a delicious paradox.
Surely you’ve heard all the rave about kale. In case you need a reminder as to why kale is actually a super food and not just a trend, here are a few reasons: Kale is a cruciferous vegetable which should be synonymous with anti-cancer properties. Actually, kale’s superstar status comes in its anti-cancer, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients. It helps lower cholesterol (especially when steamed) and naturally aids in the body’s detoxification system. It’s flavanoid content (more than 45!), particularly quercetin and kaempferol, are truly what elevate kale from just a yummy dark leafy green to superhero food. These flavanoids dance synergistically to create all kinds of anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits keeping you from chronic inflammation, the leading cause of most disease today¹.
This simple savory pie graciously came from Sophia’s kitchen and it’s made itself comfortable on our weekly menu. I added a few more greens simply because I had them so I changed the title. Don’t stop at kale, though it is delicious enough, but adding arugula, spinach, chard or other greens is completely acceptable and welcome.
Please enjoy this for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Seriously.
4 C kale, chiffonade (cut into thin ribbons)
1 red onion, medium dice
1 C ricotta (+50 g feta, optional)
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
6 leaves fillo dough
½ C EVOO
1 egg, beaten
3 T Greek yogurt
1 t black sesame seeds
1. Saute onions in 1 T olive oil until soft and translucent. Add kale and saute until wilted.
2. Add ricotta and feta if using, salt and pepper to taste.
3. Brush a pie pan with olive oil and lay first fillo leaf inside, kind of messy and with the sides hanging out over the pan. Brush with oil and repeat with 2 more fillo leaves. (Lay each consecutive leaf perpendicular to the last to create enough flaps to cover the pie.)
4. Add filling to pie pan and begin to fold over the fillo leaves. Brush with olive oil and messily add 2-3 more fillo leaves to the top of the pie, brushing each with olive oil except for the last leaf.
5. In a small bowl, beat the egg and yogurt and 1 T of olive oil. Add a pinch of salt.
6. With a paring knife, make slits into the pie, at least ½ way down, but be sure not to score the bottom of the pie.
7. Add egg/yogurt mixture and thoroughly spread around top and sides. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
8. Bake in oven at 200°C (about 390°F) for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 150°C (about 300°F) and bake for 25-30 minutes.