This time of the year asparagus is at its best. There’s plenty of it in all the markets, hence constantly in my shopping basket. Even though I have some standard dishes that I normally cook with asparagus, from time to time I try to be creative so as to come up with new recipes. In this case, I thought to combine it with some mizithra cheese from Crete which I had stored in my fridge for a long time. Mizithra is sheep’s or goat’s milk cheese, produced with the same method as Italian ricotta. It can be found mostly in its fresh form, and usually is slightly sour.
With those two products as main components, I prepared an easy mixture that I used as a filling for a Greek-style pie made with filo (phyllo) dough. Even though in Greece we use filo dough to make pies with a plethora of products, I haven’t encountered an asparagus-based one.
My asparagus and mizithra pie came out super tasty, half of it ended up in my stomach and the rest I shared with some friends.
Green asparagus and mizithra cheese pie
Assembled and baked in a 28cm-diameter baking pan
350g all-purpose wheat flour
10g extra-virgin olive oil
a good pinch of salt
a shot of vinegar
Find here the instructions on how to prepare the dough and roll it out into filo sheets
250g green asparagus
150g mizithra cheese*
3-4 tablespoons yogurt
salt/pepper/nutmeg for seasoning
extra-virgin olive oil for sautéing
* If difficult to find, you can use feta cheese instead
- Slice the onions, place them in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, and sauté them in medium to high heat for ca. 5 min, until they sweat and soften up.
- Snap off and remove the bottom (hard) part of the asparagus stalks. Chop the rest into smaller pieces and add them to the same pan with the onions. Keep sautéing all together for just a few minutes more, then remove from fire and let the mixture cool down.
- Transfer the sautéed onions and asparagus into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, and the seasonings. Mix very well with a spatula/spoon, taste, and adjust seasoning/cheese content to your liking.
Pie assembly and baking
olive oil for drizzling
- Lay three sheets of filo dough on top of each other onto the well-oiled bottom of a baking pan.
(Let the edges from each filo fall out, all the way around the pan)
(Drizzle each layer of filo with some olive oil before applying the next)
- Pour the filling.
- Lay three more filo sheets on top of the filling and each other to close the pie, repeating the same process as before.
(In this case, you do not have to let the filo sheets fall out of the pan. Better, fold them irregularly on top of the filling and each other)
- Fold the edges of the bottom filo sheets over with your fingers and tuck them to stick onto the top filo sheets, all the way around the pan to seal the pie.
- Drizzle the surface with olive oil and spray some water. With a fork make some holes on the top dough layers (or simply cut with a knife) to let the steam escape and avoid crust expansion during baking.
- Bake the pie in a pre-heated at 180 ºC oven, for 45-60 min until the crust turns golden and crunchy.
- Let the pie cool down a bit before cutting and eating.