Tomato and runner-bean baklava
( SERVES 6 )
Photo by Elizabeth Clarkson
Baklava is usually thought of as the definitive Middle Eastern dessert. This savoury version from the Smashing Plates cookbook can be eaten hot with roast lamb or grilled sardines. Or serve it as a vegetarian main, with a salad made with purslane or watercress, olive and caperberries and a vinaigrette made with lemon juice and ouzo. Served at room temperature, it also makes great picnic food. For best results, make the filling the day before to allow the flavours to infuse. Serves 6-8 as a main, or 8-12 as a small plate.
|100 ml||Olive oil|
|2||Spanish onions, halved and finely sliced|
|2||Garlic cloves, finely chopped|
|5 tsp||Tomato puree|
|10||Vine-ripened tomatoes, use plum variety, skinned & finely chopped|
|500 g||Runner beans, stringed and cut into 4cm lengths|
|1 bunch||Fresh dill, about 30g finely chopped, or use 2 tbsp dried dill|
|1 to taste||Sea salt and cracked black pepper|
|9 sheets||Filo pastry|
|100 g||Butter, melted|
|100 g||Medjool dates, or use Greek dates - stoned & finely diced|
|250 g||Feta, crumbed|
|6 Tbsp||Honey, use clear honey|
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a low heat and saute the onion until softened and sticky; this can take up to 20 minutes.
- Add the garlic, cinnamon and tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook over a medium heat for about 8 minutes, then add the beans, sugar, dill, a pinch of sea salt and 150ml of water.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the beans for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and the sauce is thick. Check the seasoning and cool before assembling.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Unfold the pastry and cover with a damp cloth to stop it drying out.
- Brush a baking tin (about 30cm x 20cm) with melted butter. Line the tin with a sheet of filo (cut to fit if too big), brush with butter and repeat until you have 3 layers
- Spread half the tomato and bean mixture over the pastry, top with half each of the dates and feta.
- Sandwich another 3 layers of filo together with melted butter and place on top. Top with the remaining tomato mixture, dates and feta.
- Sandwich the remaining filo sheets together as before and place on top.
- Lightly score the top, cutting into diamonds about 10cm x 5cm, or to the desired size.
- Brush with the remaining butter and splash with a little water. Cook for 35-45 minutes or until golden.
- Cool slightly before serving, drizzling each portion with a little honey