Sunday Challenge: Greek Zucchini Pie

26 Aug

This vegetable pie is the first of a series of “Sunday Challenges” I will feature on The People’s Gourmet.  Sunday is the day of the week when I normally attempt more complex or time-consuming culinary endeavors I don’t have time for the rest of the week.  This pie is very much worth the effort, and it’s a really great way to get a lot of vegetables into one dish.

This recipe is also from the New York Times, as were my bean tacos but I altered this dish a bit.  Here, I use parmesan cheese instead of the feta because that’s what I had on hand, and I reduced the cooking time.  The recipe indicates a cooking time of 40-50 minutes, but I cooked my zucchini pie for just 25-30 minutes.  Phyllo dough burns easily, so I think 40-50 minutes is too much.  I also did not grate my zucchini, but cut it into coins instead.  During the winter, I like making pies like this one, except with winter vegetables, like kale or swiss chard.  This pie will take a bit of time, but an hour of it is inactive.

Here’s what you need:

Time:  About 2-2.5 hours total

Special equipment:  brush for brushing olive oil onto phyllo dough (see picture below), 8 -10-inch pie pan or quiche pan

3-4 medium zucchini

Salt to taste

About 2 tablespoons olive oil for sauteeing onion, garlic, and zucchini, plus extra for brushing phyllo dough

1 medium or large onion

2 or 3 cloves of fresh garlic

2/3 cup fresh dill

1/3 cup fresh parsley

2/3-1 cup feta cheese or parmesan cheese

3 eggs

Freshly ground black pepper

10 sheets of phyllo dough (phyllo dough usually comes frozen, so make sure you leave it out to thaw several hours before you plan to use it)

Step 1: Slice the zucchini.

zucchini coins

zucchini coins

Step 2: Place the zucchini in a medium bowl, toss with about 2 teaspoons of salt.

Salted Zucchini

salted zucchini

Step 3: Place zucchini in a colander or strainer, and leave for about 1 hour.  The salt will extract a lot of water from the zucchini. You want to do this step so that the water in the zucchini will not make your crust soggy.

zucchini in a strainer over a bowl

zucchini in a strainer over a bowl

water collected after a half hour

water collected after a half hour

Step 4: Press zucchini between a few paper towels to remove any excess water.  Set aside for a moment in a bowl.

pressing the zucchini

pressing the zucchini

Step 5: Preheat oven to 350.  In a pan large enough to hold your zucchini with onions and garlic, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Chop the onion and garlic.  When your pan is hot, throw in the onion, and allow to cook for about 5 minutes.

chopped onions and garlic

chopped onions and garlic

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Step 6: Add zucchini and garlic.  Cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

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Step 7: As the zucchini, onion, and garlic cook, chop the herbs and the cheese (I used a small block of parmesan that I chopped, but you can grate if you want or use pre-grated cheese), and beat the eggs.  Add freshly ground black pepper, then, combine with herbs and cheese.

dill and parsley

dill and parsley

beaten eggs with freshly ground pepper

beaten eggs with freshly ground pepper

herbs, eggs, cheese, and pepper

herbs, eggs, cheese, and pepper

Step 8: Mix about half a cup of the zucchini, onion, and garlic mixture into the egg mixture to heat up the eggs so that rest of the hot zucchini mixture will not produce scrambled eggs.  Then, mix in the rest of the zucchini mixture.

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Step 9: Pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a bowl.  Get out your brush.  My phyllo dough was a little large for the quiche pan I used, so I cut the sheets in half.

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sheets of phyllo dough

sheets of phyllo dough

Step 10: Assemble the crust.  Brush each sheet of phyllo with a bit of olive oil, and layer 5 of these sheets in the bottom of your pan.

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Step 11: Fill crust with zucchini/egg mixture.

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Step 12: Brush 5 more sheets of phyllo dough with olive oil, and layer on top of the pie. When done, tuck in the sides of the dough.

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Step 13: Bake for about 30 minutes.  Your pie will look about like this:

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Zucchini Slice 005

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One Response to “Sunday Challenge: Greek Zucchini Pie”

  1. Doug August 27, 2009 at 3:02 am #

    That is one gorgeous-looking pastry. Mine never turn out that good looking. They are tasty, but they rarely look that nice. I’m an horribly impatient baker, so I mostly stick to stove-top cooking. Ideally, I would just be a sous chef.

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