Here’s a new Greek food term for you (well, for me): Prasopita. Leek (praso) pie (pita). I found it while googling ‘spanakopita with leeks’—which is what I’d just made using the big bunch of dark green tops I scrupulously save from the leeks I buy.*
And I buy a lot of leeks.
As in, 2 to 3 each week, except in summer when they disappear from the fields around Cancale and from the farmers’ market stands. (Even though you can find them in supermarkets year round, the world over, leeks are a cold weather crop.) This means that, there is usually a big bunch of leek greens waiting to be used in my fridge. I put them in omelets and quiches and mash them with potatoes for champ, but this prasopita blows those #nowastekitchen dishes out of the water, and I think I like it even better than spanakopita (which I love) because it has a transformational effect on the leeks. They turn as tender as spinach and lose some of their onion-y bite with the addition of lots of herbs (I used dried…fresh dill is hard to come by.) and tangy feta. Plus, the recipe is dead easy. I can now see myself saving up raw, sliced leek greens in the freezer to make bigger pies for bigger occasions …but this serves-4 version is just right for weeknights.
* Linguists will want to correct that ‘Spanakopita with Leeks’ reference, since ‘spana’ is spinach in Greek, and spanakopita is therefore, by definition, made with spinach. But, since prasopita is so little known, I hope they’ll let it slide for clarity’s sake.
Prasopita with Leek Greens
1 to 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing pan and phyllo sheets
4 cups/1 lb./450 g. thinly sliced leek greens from 2 to 3 large leeks
2 Tbs. fresh mint, optional
2 tsp. dried dill or 2 Tbs. fresh dill
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch ground nutmeg
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 to 6 oz. (100 to 170 g.) feta cheese, crumbled
7 to 8 sheets phyllo dough
PREHEAT the oven to 350˚F/180˚C. Brush a large loaf pan or a rectangular baking dish with olive oil.
HEAT the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leek greens, and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, or until the greens begin to turn bright green and are coated with oil. Add ½ cup water, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer 7 to 12 minutes, or until the water has evaporated and the greens are very tender, stirring occasionally to prevent from sticking. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Allow to cool a little while you prepare the crust.
CUT 4 phyllo sheets in half width-wise so you have 8 large (not skinny) rectangles. Brush 1 half-sheet with olive oil, and place a second on top. Repeat the layering until all 8 sheets have been used up. Press this phyllo crust into the prepared loaf pan or baking dish, letting extra hang over the sides.
CUT the remaining 3 phyllo sheets into thirds width-wise. Brush them with olive oil and stack them until you have a 9-layer top crust for the prasopita. Set aside.
STIR the mint (if using), dill, oregano, garlic, and nutmeg, then the beaten egg into the leek greens. Gently fold the feta into the mixture, and season lightly with salt and pepper. (Feta is salty!) Spoon the mixture into the prepared crust, and fold the sides over the filling. Brush the phyllo on top of the filling with olive oil, then place the top phyllo crust over the filling, gently pressing down to seal the sides to the folded-down edges. Brush the top with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt, if desired.
BAKE the prasopita 35 to 40 minutes. Or until the phyllo crust is golden brown. Cool 10 minutes before slicing and serving, or serve at room temperature. Serves 4
* French supermarkets carry excellent-quality, fresh phyllo sold in convenient 10-sheet packages. In the US (and elsewhere), the phyllo I’ve found comes frozen in larger packages. This always gave me pause until I learned that phyllo could be refrozen. Now, I thaw the whole big package, take out what I need, then refreeze any leftovers in manageable 8-to 10 sheet bundles rolled in parchment then plastic wrap