Amazingly, our Asian greens are still flourishing. These greens seem almost indestructible. We selected varieties that were developed for hot, tropical climates, and they produced heavily all summer. We didn't expect them to survive once the temperatures dropped, so we have been pleasantly surprised that the plants are not only alive but thriving. Although bred for heat, these greens are truly year-round vegetables for the Zone 9 garden. If you live in a climate similar to ours, we strongly encourage you to include these greens in your garden next year. If you want to learn more about the greens we are growing, click here. Evergreen and Kitazawa both have excellent seed selections.
Since spinach from the garden seems but a distant dream, we are grateful for the abundance of Asian greens. We have already used them to make delicious Lebanese Pies, Pasta with Goat Cheese and Eggplant and Spicy Tofu with Asian Greens. Asian greens are an excellent substitute for spinach in all these recipes. Here we use Komatsuna and Misome to make Turkish pies similar to spanakopita. Thanks to Mae of the wonderful site, Peas Love Carrots, we now have a name for our pie -- Hortaropita. As Mae writes, "it's a phyllo pie dish (pita), but not using the traditional spinach, but other "greens" (horta) instead". Not traditional, but tasty none the less.
Hortaropita with Asian Greens, Feta and Filo
1 1/2 pounds Asian Greens, thick stems removed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup butter (we used clarified)
1 bunch scallions, white parts only,
12 oz feta
1/3 cup Italian parsley, chopped
(we used fresh-picked parsley;
you may need more if you use
store-bought, which tends to have
1/3 cup milk
1 box (1 lb.) filo dough, defrosted
1 egg yolk
1/8 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350° convection (375° conventional).
- Blanche the greens in boiling water. Drain, squeeze dry, then chop.
- Heat 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup butter over medium, then add greens and scallions. Cook briefly, stirring (about 2 minutes).
- Let greens cool, then add feta, 2 eggs, and parsley. Combine well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a pyrex measuring cup (or something with a spout), combine 1/4 cup melted but cooled butter with 1/3 cup whole milk, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1 egg. Mix well.
- Spread a tiny amount of the butter mixture on a sheet pan, then layer 1 sheet of filo. We pour the mixture on with the measuring cup, then spread with the back of a spoon. You can also use a pastry brush if you have one.
- Layer a single filo sheet on the buttered sheet pan, then spread a little more of the butter mixture on top of the filo. Repeat until you have 10 layers of filo dough.
- Spread the mixture of greens and feta on top of the filo dough. Evenly distribute.
- Use rest of filo dough to make a top for the pies, repeating the process of layering a single layer of dough, spreading butter mixture, then adding another layer of dough.
- Mix 1 egg yolk with 1/8 cup whole mik, then use this as a glaze to cover the top layer of filo dough. Before putting into the oven, cut your pie into triangles. We used a pizza cutter for this, and ended up with 20 triangles.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then lower temperature to 300° convection (325° regular) and bake until top is browned and flaky.