Open Filo Sandwich

This simple filo pastry recipe is inspired by one of my favourite starters from Janni Kyritsis at MG Garage (see the video below for another of Janni’s filo classics).

I love the way he pressed chopped olives between two sheets of filo and wondered what else might work in this way. Janni made a triple stack of the olive-studded filo sheets with the other ingredients sandwiched in between, using witlof instead of fennel.

I’ve opted for a simple open filo sandwich. This easy filo pastry recipe is great for entertaining as the anchovy sauce can be made, garlic poached, fennel and tomato sliced and filo cooked ahead of time.

Bring everything to room temperature then, just before serving, warm filo in the oven and assemble. This recipe is all about the rich, salty anchovy sauce, and it needs a wine that can cut through the oil and meet the punchy flavours head-on, like Brash Higgins Riesling/Semillon, a true field blend that spent a couple of days on skin together before being wild co-fermented.

Serves: six as a starter


  • 18 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Extra virgin olive oil, for poaching
  • 1 bulb baby fennel
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 sheets thick filo pastry
  • ¼ cup pitted black olives, finely chopped
  • 9 grape tomatoes, quartered
  • Anchovy Sauce
  • 30g anchovies in olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons strained lemon juice
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste


Put garlic in a small saucepan with just enough oil to cover it.

Place over the lowest heat possible for about 15 minutes until it’s very soft and only slightly coloured. Watch it closely as it will burn easily, if it’s colouring too quickly move the pan so that it’s only partially on the heat. Set oil and garlic aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 175°C.

Shave fennel finely using a mandolin or sharp knife, rub with lemon to prevent it discolouring. Set aside, reserving the fronds.

Make anchovy sauce: use a stick blender to blitz all ingredients together with two tablespoons of the garlic poaching oil to form a smooth sauce. Set aside.

Place one sheet of filo pastry on an oiled baking tray.  Brush with some of the poaching oil and sprinkle with the olives, distributing them as evenly as possible. 

Place a second sheet of filo on top and press down gently, brush with more oil. 

Cut filo lengthways, then across twice to make 6 squares (a pizza cutter is handy for this). 

Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden.

Place a filo square on each of 6 plates.

Add a little anchovy sauce, three garlic cloves, six tomato quarters, and a couple of pieces of fennel to each.

Top with more anchovy sauce, garnish with fennel fronds and serve.

You’ll find a print-friendly version of this recipe here as well as a step-by-step video for another of Janni’s filo classics).

Subscribe to my Recipe of the Week newsletter to discover more easy entertaining recipes and receive a free Italian online cooking class (RRP $39). Find more cooking inspiration on my website

Also read: Roberta’s Lemon and Ginger Rice

Roberta Muir
Roberta Muir
Roberta Muir loves making it easy for home cooks to explore new cuisines and ingredients and sharing her passion for cooking, eating, drinking and travelling. She’s a recipe writer, cooking teacher, and author of four cookbooks including the Sydney Seafood School Cookbook. Find more of her inspiration at
- Our Partners -


- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -