Are you like me and remember certain things that you ate 5, 10, 20 years ago? Memorable tastes are special moments when your mind and senses work so well together; they capture not only what you ate and how amazing it was, but who you were with, where you were and who made it. For me there are many and dolmades take me back to a sunny Sunday afternoon in London many years ago. We stumbled across a musical playing in Southbank, free for passers-by. As we watched a wacky show with elaborate cheese themed head-dresses (random but true!), a vegan friend of a friend whipped out a container of homemade dolmades. I have often thought of those little treasures while tucking into meze plates since, but I hadn’t haven’t had any as fresh and tasty as I had that day. When asked to bring a plate of ‘something savoury’ to a friend’s birthday this weekend, I set about recreating those little gems... I’m proud to report, they are pretty damn good. The filling is super easy to make, but the wrapping involves some patience. But trust me, the end result is magic. Enjoy. Makes about 30 dolmades.
Prep time: approx. 30 min. cooking time: about 30 min
Kitchen stuff needed: a grater, chopping board, frypan, 1 mixing bowls, sharp knife, one shallow roasting dish
Ingredients from the garden:
20 x mint leaves finely chopped
1 cup white rice, cooked
4 oz vine leaves (these can be purchased in a jar at an ethnic food store)
Several cups boiling water
Several cups cold water
1½ T olive oil
½ a brown onion, minced
4 cloves garlic
¼ c dill, chopped
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup pine nuts
10 x Kalamata olives
¼ t salt
¾ cup vegetable stock
2 Tblespn lemon juice and rind of a lemon
Let’s do it:
1. Arrange grape leaves flat in bowl, cover with boiling water, and let sit for 2 minutes. Drain, cover with cold water, let sit for 5 minutes, and drain.
2. Place rice in small bowl, cover with boiling water, let sit for 5 minutes, and drain.
3. Meanwhile, heat ½ Tblespn oil and sauté onion and 1 minced garlic clove, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes.
4. Combine rice, onion mixture, mint, dill, raisins, pine nuts, olives, salt, and pepper in large bowl.
5. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
6. Line baking dish with grape leaves. Place one leaf on cutting board, vein side up, and cut off stem. Add a heaping spoonful of filling in the center. Fold the sides of leaf over filling, and then roll from stem-end to tip, to make a neat roll. Set seam-side-down in lined baking dish. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling, placing grape leaves cosily together and making two layers if necessary.
7. Cut 3 garlic cloves into large pieces and poke between the grape leaves here and there.
8. Pour stock over grape leaves, then remaining olive oil and 1 t lemon juice.
9. Bake 20-25 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Drizzle with remaining lemon juice and serve.
Enjoy with friends and accompany with an ice cold Mythos beer
Soundtrack to get your Greek on (by special Greek Goddess DJ Kat G): Prosopika Dedomena by Giannis Ploutarhos
Recipe adapted from recipe at http://www.theveggietable.com