I love the scent of parsley, especially right after picking. One of the things I like to do with the herb is to mix it with feta cheese, fold it in filo dough sheets, and bake them—just like in the Turkish baked borek. This time, I wanted to try something different with the mixture. So, I spread it on a few pita bread, topped the bread with cherry tomatoes, and baked them. Oh, what a fantastic aroma they created as they cooked in the oven! They tasted delicious too. The fresh herb and tomato definitely added more complexity to the salty white cheese melted on the warm bread.
Here’s how I did mine:
- A handful of parsley (just the leaves)
- About 4 oz. of feta cheese (I bought one of those 8 oz. plain regular chunk)
- Olive oil
- 3 pita bread
- Cherry tomatoes
Then I heated the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, mixed/chopped the parsley and feta in a food processor, brushed the pita bread with olive oil, spread the cheese mixture on it, topped with cherry tomatoes, and baked for 6-7 minutes.
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My Turkish neighbor had made this pastry a while back. Both Jeff and I thought they tasted fantastic. But it wasn’t until I read a novel (that was also) filled with dreamy descriptions of Turkish cuisine did I get the strong urge to try making this amazing baked goods. One sentence from the book did it for me: “The delectable smell of newly baked börek wafted from the kitchen: white cheese, spinach, butter, and parsley melting into one another amid thin layers of phyllo pastry.” (Shafak, Elif. The Bastard of Istanbul. Viking/Penguin, 2007. Pg. 126.)
I asked my good friend Farah, who’s also Turkish, about the pastry. She explained that in Turkey, börek could also be stuffed with other delicious things such as meat, potato, vegetables, etc. Yum! So I found an excellent recipe for the pastry. The successful first trial encouraged me to do a repeat. So far I have made this fantastic crispy, salty, and fragrant snack twice this month! Another addition to my favorite-food list and…one excellent way to use up my parsley plant.
Here’s what I came up with:
Parsley and Feta Pastry
A few things that I did differently from the original recipe:
- I chopped and mixed my parsley leaves and egg in a food processor.
- I folded the phyllo dough (with the cheese and parsley mixture in it) into a rectangle instead of rolling it.
- For an extra kick, I brushed the wrapped cheese and parsley with a little bit of herb olive oil (marinade: olive oil, vinegar, thyme, garlic, chili peppers, and chives) before they go to the oven (350 degrees F for 15 minutes).
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Original Recipe: Filo Pastry Stuffed with Feta Cheese and Parsley by Kathryn at London Bakes
My flat parsley plant. Hopefully it overwinters and returns to life in the springtime.