Is it a pie? Yes, it is.
Is it a frittata? Yes, it is.
Is it delicious? Hell yeah!
The most treasured summer pie in my home is this crustless zucchini pie called “Sfouggato”. Its tangy-savory-sweet-salty flavor will tickle your taste buds and I am pretty sure you are going to make it over and over again.
August is a real celebration for those who enjoy seasonal eating because the summer produce is in abundance and you have no idea what to buy and what to leave behind. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, fruits are so sweet and juicy. My most favorite time of the year. Culinary speaking. Zucchini is one of the best seasonal staple and the traditional Greek cuisine has invented so many delicious recipes to enjoy.
Like this traditional crustless zucchini pie coming straight from the beautiful island of Lesvos in northeastern Greece. Here is the deal for this pie. Zucchini is the key ingredient so it goes without saying that you should purchase the best quality from your market. Feta blends like a charm with zucchini and eggs and herbs bring all the flavors together. As a traditional pie, I use a local cheese called “ladotiri” but there are equally tasteful alternatives for those who cannot find this cheese. Mix all the ingredients together, pour in the baking pan, in the oven and you got yourself a pie in no more than 50 minutes. Only 10 minutes to prepare it and the rest of it its baking time.
Crustless pies are very popular in Greek cuisine. It has been a clever way to use up extra produce for centuries. During difficult periods of the long Greek history, zero-waste cooking was the difference between famine and survival. Therefore, these pies were an easy and quick way to use up veggies in abundance (along with dairy and other livestock products) before they start to lose their freshness. Finally, they are super filling and that’s how they were able to feed a multi-generational household. 3 generations under the same roof may seem strange to us today but back then it was very common especially in rural areas. So many hungry mouths to feed and so little time to cook. What can you do? A Greek crustless pie!
Apart from the flavor, this crustless zucchini pie is a perfect all-day meal. It can be an easy and quick breakfast, an excellent side dish to any meal, a hearty lunch or dinner along with a salad and a grab and go snack! If you ask me, it is perfect to serve at a potluck. Cut it into small bites and it will definitely make an impression. It covers all the bases and it is so convenient to have something ready for any occasion.
So, now let’s talk details. You may use grated or spiralized zucchini. The key to the success of this pie is to squeeze all of the liquid out of the zucchini. Use a kitchen towel and twist and turn it as much as you can. Zucchini has a lot of excess water that can completely destroy your pie. I don’t know about you but I hate watery pies (or anything watery except stews and soups) no matter how tasteful they can be.
Bake it in a pie plate, cake pan, tart pan or even a square pan, pretty much in any baking pan. If you use a springform pan or a baking pan without a solid bottom, the edges have to be wrapped in foil so nothing spills out. Zucchini contains plenty of water (over 90%!!!).
As mentioned, I use a traditional Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cheese of Lesvos called “ladotiri”, meaning “olive oil cheese” in Greek. It is an amazing, popular cheese in Greece which you could probably find in big Greek delis. But even if you don’t, you may use parmesan, white cheddar cheese, Edam, Gouda cheese, pretty much whatever you got in the fridge and can be combined with feta cheese according to your taste.
The amount of the flour is insignificant in this recipe. Only 2-3 tablespoons just to be sure that excessive liquid will be absorbed. However, I usually skip the flour when I see that my mixture is quite dry. Otherwise, you will notice liquid around the edges and then you have to add some flour to soak up the excess water.
Serve it with lively Greek white wine like Assyrtiko. Extra cool for those hot days like today (37 °C / 100 °F in Athens).
Credits: My dearest friend Natasa, an excellent home cook and the kindest person on earth, gave me this recipe. Natasa’s family comes from the island of Lesvos. Thank you, Natasa for this divine recipe.
- 2.2 pounds (1kg) zucchini, shredded or spiralized
- 2 big onions, chopped
- 4 shallots, chopped
- 4 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup (60g) olive oil
- 2 ½ cups (400g) feta cheese
- 1 cup ladotiri cheese or graviera or parmesan*
- 2 tablespoons basil or dill
- 4 tablespoons mint
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Salt, pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons flour (optional)
- Grate or spiralize the zucchini and set it in a colander. Sprinkle salt, toss well and set aside for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180ο C (350ο F).
- Wrap ¼ of the grated or spiralized zucchini in a kitchen towel. Squeeze and twist well to extract all liquid. Add it into a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining zucchini.
- Whisk together the onions, shallots, eggs, olive oil, cheeses, basil (or dill) and mint. Season according to taste. You may skip extra salt unless you like it extra salty. Toss well.
- Grease a 9-inch baking pan or tart pan or pie plate or springform pan* with olive oil and sift a thin layer of flour on its surface. Pour the mixture into the pan and place it onto a baking sheet.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the center is solid and the top is golden. Remove and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.