Welcome back to Tasty Tuesday! As I mentioned in my last post, my family just spent a 10-day holiday on the island of Crete, where we were lucky enough to enjoy a four-hour traditional Greek cooking class in the town of Vamos. The class was held in an outdoor kitchen area on the site of an old olive press on a steamy hot day (they were all steamy hot days—and though we sweated through them, we enjoyed them). So, for the next few weeks, I’ll be focusing on the Greek recipes we made, rather than my usual focus on traditional English recipes, starting with my favorite, Grape Leaves with Rice.
These are easier to make than I ever would’ve thought and this was my new favorite during our stay, the one I hoped every restaurant would serve. Most of them did, though the taverna in our village served a variation: zucchini (courgette) blossoms stuffed with rice. Grape leaves were out-of-season when we were there, but the grape leaves we used had been harvested earlier and stored in the refrigerator in salted water, then rinsed off when ready to use. I need to find a source for grape leaves in the UK—we’ve only been back a few days and I haven’t had a chance to do that yet. These can be eaten hot or cold.
Grape Leaves with Rice
8 ounces fresh or canned grape leaves
1 cup grated onions
1/2 cup fresh chopped dill
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup dry white rice
2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1. Wash the grape leaves. If using fresh, boil them in water with salt for 5 minutes. If canned just wash them well.
2. Mix the onions, dill, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, rice, mint, salt and pepper in a bowl.
3. Wrap each grape leaf around a spoonful of the onion/rice mixture. (Note: fold up the bottom of the grape leaf first, then fold in the sides, and roll up.)
4. Place layers of finished grape leaves in a large pot. Add two cups of water and two tablespoons of olive oil with a little salt. Cover leaves with a plate and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Drain and serve warm grape leaves with yogurt or sour cream.
And now that we’re home and I’ve flicked through our photos, I realize that I was too busy eating stuffed grape leaves to take any pictures of the finished product. So you’ll have to take my word for it when I tell you they looked good, too.