I usually have pieces of my basic bread or laganes dough in the fridge, so the other day I decided to use the wild greens Costas had collected from the garden to make this fast and irresistible greens and cheese tart, or pizza-like spanakopita. If you like, you can top the greens with a mixture of yogurt and egg just before transferring the skillet to the oven (see variation).
You can probably make this spanakopita-bread with store-bought, whole-wheat pizza dough, if you are not up to making you own bread dough from scratch.
For a 9-inch round bread, or 2 stuffed loaves
3 cups chopped scallions –white plus most of the green part
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for the pan or skillet
2/3 pound (350 grams) spinach leaves and most stems, or a combination of various greens (chard, beet greens, arugula, some bitter chicory etc.)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup chopped dill
1 tablespoon dry mint
2 tablespoons dry coriander
1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups grated, aged graviera or pecorino, more to sprinkle the bread
1/2 cup aged smoked cheddar
Salt to taste
2-3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
Make the filling: In a heavy, deep skillet add the olive oil and sauté the scallions for 2-3 minutes in medium high, and as they start to sizzle reduce the heat to very low, cover the pan and cook the onions until soft, about 8-10 minutes, stirring every now and then.
In the meantime cut the spinach or the various greens and their stems to about 1/2 inch pieces, transfer to a bowl and knead with your hands to wilt a bit. Add them to the skillet with the onions and toss with 2 spatulas to half-cook and reduce.
Remove from the heat and add the parsley, mint, coriander, the egg, if using, and pepper. Toss well and stir in the cheeses and mix. You can taste the stuffing and add a bit of salt if you think it needs it –I don’t, as the cheeses are quite salty.
Preheat the oven to 375 F (180 C)
To make the round, pizza-like spanakopita: Add 2 tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick skillet and add the dough, flattening with your fingers to fill the skillet, lifting it around the sides. Add the stuffing, evening to cover all the surface, leaving a border all around. Sprinkle with cheese.
Place the skillet over medium-high heat and fry the dough for about 8-10 min, until you see little bubbles all around and carefully lifting the dough with a spatula to see if it has started to brown at the bottom.
Transfer to the skillet to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or more, until the top is cooked and sizzling. Remove from the oven and from the skillet, with spatulas, and let cool on a rack before cutting to serve.
VARIATION: beat 1 cup full-fat (preferably sheep’s milk yogurt) with 1 egg, and pour on top of the spinach filling, just before you transfer the skillet to the oven.
Form the stuffed loaves: Briefly knead and the dough and divide in two. On a lightly floured board flatten and roll one piece to make an oval, roughly 16-inch (about 40 cm) long. The dough is very forgiving and elastic so don’t be afraid to stretch it and make it quite thin, as it will expand quite a bit in the oven.
Add half the stuffing in the center of the oval and with a spoon spread it to make a line, leaving about 2 inches from the two small sides, but at the top and bottom leave about 4-5 inches dough to cover well the stuffing. Turn the dough to cover the stuffing and pinch to seal.
Spread a baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil. Transfer the stuffed log to the baking sheet and continue stuffing the second in the same way.
Brush the breads with olive oil and sprinkle well with water. With scissors mace cuts all along the seam on top of the breads, and sprinkle with some breadcrumbs.
Bake for about 45 min or more, until golden brown on top and bottom. Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and leave the breads in another 10 minutes.
Let cool well before cutting to serve. Actually these breads taste better the next day, either served room temperature, or reheated in a low oven, loosely wrapped in parchment paper.