By David Harbilas
This is a variation on a traditional Greek appetizer, tiropita, which is essentially spanikopita without spinach.
Spanikopita has become such a traditional and oft-times boring dish that it sometimes surprises people to see something other than spinach wrapped in filo.
Being that tomatoes are hardly an easy medium for such a fragile pastry, they need to be stewed down to a nearly dry consistency–which is good, since their flavor will also concentrate as they cook.
Makes 20 pita
- 1 bulb of fennel, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Â¼ cup ricotta cheese
- Â¼ cup feta, crumbled
- Â¼ cup romano cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil (for cooking)
- 1 package of filo
- 2 sticks of butter, melted
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a sautÃ© pan and cook the fennel and onion over medium-high heat until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Remove and cool. In a small saucepan, cook the tomato with about 3 tablespoons of water over medium-low heat until thick and jam-like, about 20 minutes. Add the tomato to the fennel-onion mixture. Add the 3 cheeses to the vegetables and mix well. Lay out a sheet of the filo and brush with some of the melted butter. Top with another sheet of filo and repeat with another sheet of filo.
Cut the filo in 3, lengthwise, making 3 long strips. Place about 1 tablepoon of the filling at the bottom of each strip and fold over diagonally in a triangle shape. Continue folding the filo, end over end, in a triangle shape (as you would a flag). Just before making the last fold, brush the filo to seal the pastry. Repeat with the remaining filo and place the pastries on a sheet pan. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the pastries with butter and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until browned. Remove and cool slightly before serving.