Chardakopita

One of the great things about chard is how easily it swaps in for spinach. In fact, I like it better than spinach in most cooked dishes because the stems add a bit more texture and color. This is a chard-oriented twist on the classic Greek dish Span0kopita, which means ‘spinach pie’.

(Despite having minored in Modern Greek in college, I can’t find the Greek word for chard, so we’re going to call this ‘Chardakopita’ until someone tells me differently.)

This is an impressive dish because it utilizes fillo dough, which has a semi-deserved reputation for being tricky to work with. That’s true, but don’t let it scare you. There are two enemies when dealing with fillo dough – moisture, and not enough moisture. As long as you don’t get it wet or let it dry out (which can happen fairly quickly, so minimize distractions, only take out of the plastic as much as you need at a time, and work at a brisk pace) and you’ll be fine. Once you master the techniques of fillo dough, the world is yours.

There are two basic ways to configure your chardakopita – as a lasagna-style layered dish, from which you’ll cut squares, perfect for an entree, or as crispy two-bite-sized triangles, a perfect hors d’ouvre.

  • ½ package of fillo dough
  • Olive oil or butter
  • 1 lb Swiss chard
  • 8oz feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • Dill, finely chopped
  • A dash of nutmeg

Immerse the chard in a pot of boiling water for about 2 minutes, then immediately remove it to a pot of ice water. Drain it and chop it thoroughly. Combine the chard with cheese, garlic, onion, egg, dill, and nutmeg. Cut the fillo dough along the long side into three strips and cover so it doesn’t dry out. To assemble, stack two strips of fillo dough, brushing with oil between then. Place about a tablespoon of chard mixture at one end of the strips, and fold it like a flag along the strip, so you are left with a triangle. Repeat until the chard mixture is gone. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 until brown and crisp (about 20 minutes). Serve hot.

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