Here’s a recipe from Fergus Garrett, head gardener at Great Dixter. He originally got it from his Turkish mother, an amazing cook. Great for vegetarians, the little spinach and feta pastries are rolled in an unusual way, which makes for a very attractive dish.
- Fergus Garrett
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
- Oil, for greasing and brushing
- 350g fresh spinach or Swiss chard leaves, rinsed
- Good handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 100g feta cheese, chopped
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 x 350g packet filo (phyllo) pastry, defrosted
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Oil a shallow round cake pan about 30 cm in diameter.
Lightly cook the spinach and parsley in a lidded pan with just the water clinging to the leaves after washing. When the leaves have wilted, drain through a sieve and let cool. I later give them a good squeeze to get rid of any remaining water. Once cold, mix with the feta and salt and set aside.
Unroll a sheet of filo (phyllo). Spoon a little of the spinach mixture down the long edge, then roll up like a cigar. If it splits or seems fragile, roll another sheet of filo around it. Take care not to do this too tightly or it will split again while cooking. Coil the cigar into a snail shape. Repeat this process until you have made 6–8 ‘snails’, then arrange them neatly (sides touching) in the prepared pan. Brush with oil and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.