I love fresh herbs. I love their smell when you cut them or brush past them, and the unique power house of flavour each offers. I also love how prolifically they grow, especially now in Winter for me. Even better is the lack of insects like aphids, making it so much faster to process them! Plenty of herbs and lots of eggs from my girls, makes this a great use of farm produce.
If you are after a use for all your lovely fresh herbs, or have been looking for a way to add some nutrient rich greens into your diet, then give this easy vegetarian filo pie a go! This recipe uses a big bunch of mixed seasonal herbs combined with salty feta for a big hit of flavour. It is a winner of a vegetarian dish that is quick and easy to make.
If you are a seasoned filo pastry cook, you can skip my instructions in step 3. If you are new to working with filo, or have been avoiding it because it looks too fiddly, then this recipe is a good starting point. The pie intentionally has a rustic look so you don't have to be too delicate, and once you have done a few layers, the world of filo pastry will open to you. It really is very easy to use once you get the hang of handling it.
Herb and feta filo pie
w/ tarragon, dill, mint and parsley
16 sheets of fresh filo pastry (I use a 375g packet)
200g soft feta
200g Greek yoghurt
100g mixed herbs, chopped (I use in season herbs with my favourite winter mix being 30g dill, 30g mint, 30g parsley, 10g tarragon)
2 tbs olive oil + a good 3/4 cup more for oiling
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nigella seeds
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and oil the base and side of a 23cm springform cake tin.
2. Combine the feta, yoghurt, eggs, herbs, 2 tbs olive oil and salt in a mixing bowl.
3. Lay the entire pack of filo pastry sheets out flat on a clean, dry bench. With a pastry brush, cover the top piece of pastry in oil. Gently lift from the long edge furthest away from you and flip towards you so that the oiled side meets the 2nd piece of filo. Oil the next layer and pick up the two pieces that are now glued together with oil. Flip and repeat one more time. When you flip this piece you will end up with 4 pieces of filo with 3 layers of olive oil. OK good! The rest will be super straightforward!
4. Place 3 tbs of the feta herb mix on the 4 sheets of filo. Spread evenly over the surface, leaving 2cm free around the edge of the filo. Fold the 2 short sides over and oil them and the edge furthest away from you. Now starting closest to you, roll the filo along its long edge until you end up with a nice filo tube. Starting in the middle of your cake tin, gently curl this in a spiral around itself.
5. Continue with the remaining filo and mix. You will need 5 tubes to fill the tin that should be closely packed.
6. Liberally brush with remaining olive oil and sprinkle the nigella seeds on top.
7. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes until the top has some nice colour.
Serve alongside boiled potatoes coated with preserved lemon dressing and some grilled asparagus.