I’m a big fan of spanikopida – but didn’t want all the fuss of individual phyllo pies, so decided on a torte of phyllo filled with greens. And the nuts between the layers – that came along later in the process, when I was thinking about phyllo and baklava. Finally, I’ve always liked the way the sweetness of butternut squash offsets winter greens, and you just can’t beat the color combo. This is a pretty dish that works well for a buffet and satisfies the vegetarians in the bunch. Hint: remember to season every layer of flavor with salt and pepper.
large yukon gold potato
cloves garlic, minced
small onion, minced
bunch swiss chard, washed
fresh dill, minced
fresh thyme, minced
fresh parsley, minced
medium butternut squash, neck only (reserve bulb for another use)
Wash and peel the potato. Dice in ½” dice. Place in cold water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, cook for about 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and set aside.
Separate the chard leaves and ribs, chopping each finely.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Cook onion and garlic until transparent. Add chard stems and cook 2-3 minutes. Add chard leaves and cook, stirring for 5-7 minutes, until just done and any moisture has cooked off. If there is some ‘likker’ left in the pot, leave it behind.
Gently stir potatoes, chard and herbs together. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.
Peel the squash necks and slice very thinly. I like to use a mandoline for this step. Set aside.
Assemble the Torte:
Cut the phyllo sheets in half and stack one half on top of the other. Keep the stack covered with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out as you complete the assembly.
Brush the bottom and side of a 9” springform pan with melted butter. Butter a phyllo sheet and line the pan, allowing the excess to drape over the side. Do not concern yourself with tears, but do try to keep the phyllo from pleating and wrinkling.
Continue to create the crust, turning the pan a quarter turn between each phyllo sheet. Sprinkle some hazelnuts between a couple of the layers. You’ll use eight half-sheets for this step. When you're done, sprinkle a good covering of nuts on the bottom of the torte.
Put half the chard/potato mixture in the pan. Place half the butternut squash slices in a couple of spiral layers on top of the chard. Grate a little bit of nutmeg over the squash. Salt & pepper generously.
Pinch off marble sized pieces of goat cheese and scatter over the squash. Add the remaning chard mixture on top of the cheese and pour the egg mixture over everything. Add a double spiral layer of squash; then salt, pepper and a quick grating of nutmeg.
Make a top crust for the torte with the remaining pieces of phyllo, buttering each sheet before it is placed on the torte, and scattering nuts between a couple of the layers. Gather the edges of the phyllo that are draped over the side of the pan and trim & fold in a decorative way around the edge of the pan. Butter the top. Sprinkle sparingly with nuts.
Bake in a 425 oven for 45 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing the springform.