Grape Leaves: This is the season

Joined Jul 24, 2001
Many Mediterranean recipes need grape leaves :)

Now is the season to collect them. If you are close to a vinyard do not loose this opportunity.

Grape leaves are used primarly in dolmades and they are a perfect " wrapping material" for many things.
I think I have posted my recipe of the "Lamp of the Wine Grower" which is lamp wrapped with grape leaves and stuffed with cheese.

Also it's a good opportunity to collect tendrils as well.

I do not know if I use the right term.

In Greece they are very popular. We pickle them using garlic and we use them in salads and in many hor'd'oeuvres :)

I think I will post a new recipe that you may want to take a look and make your remarks :)
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Ingredients :
-2 chicken breasts
-2-3 gloves of garlic
-1/2 tblsp of chopped chilli peppers
-2 red peppers ( sweet) chopped in strings
-1 cup of feta cheese mashed with a fork
-4 tsp of cappers
-8 fresh wine leaves -blanhed
-1 cup of white wine
-1/2 chicken broth ( this is not obliigatory)
Olive oil

Part the chicken breasts in two pieces
Mix together the olive oil-garlic and red pepper.
Spread this marinade to the meat.
Wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

Sauter the peppers in 3-4 tbsps of olive oil, until soft
Remove them from the pan and set the oil apart

Just before serving the meal.

Wrap the meat in the grape leaves
Fill the breasts with the mashed feta cheese , cappers and 2-3 stripes of the pepper.
Roll the breast, wrapping it with the leave.
Hold the roll together with a toothpick.
In a pan sauter the rolled breasts using the olil you used for the red peppers.
When they get a shlight brown color, low the heat, add the wine , cover and leave it to cook for 30 minutes.
Add water or the chicken broth if neccessary.

Serve with french fries or talliatelli :)

Joined Jul 31, 2000

Nice recipe...

for the chicken breast, did you mean to refridgerate over night..or freeze as you said?

I have a nice vegetarian recipe if you would like to see it
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Thanks CC

Yes, refrigerate :blush:

and why not post a vegeterian recipe since I am not the one who is going to eat it :D

Is there a tofu chicken????:eek: :eek:
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Ok Athenaues....

I'll post it for the people whom may enjoy it...

You may even like it (add some lamb)

2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup brown rice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup grated radish
1/3 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup celery minced
3/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 + tablespoons evoo
2 teaspoons white wine vinager
2 + teaspoons lemon juice
1/3 cup currants or sultanas
1/4 cup pine nuts
fresh milled black pepper
36 grape leaves
around 100 chive stalks
Bring the stock to a boil over medium heat, add the rice and salt. reduce the heat to a simmer covered tightly for 45 minuts. When the stock is absorbed, remove the rice from the heat and fluff with a fork.In a large bowl, combine the rice and all ingredients except the grape leaves, chives and a little olive oil and lemon juice. Toss well. To make the rolls, have a bowl of hot water (for your fingers). Preheat oven to 350f. One at a time, spread the grape leaves on a flat, dry suface. (remove any stems) spread 1 1/2 tablespoons of the rice mixture at the base (near the stem)Fold the outer leaf edges in, then roll up. To tie, take three five inch chive sticks and briefly soak them in the hot water to make more pliable. Using the three stalks as one, tie them around the grape leaves. arrange the completed grape leaves in a medium cassarole, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes

That's it..pretty simple, but what to serve with these tiny morsels?

From Andrew weil and Rosie Daley's "The healthy Kitchen"

Published in the Athens-Banner-Herald on Wednesday,4/24/2002


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Joined Oct 5, 2001
When I was in Santorini we used to roast a whole leg of lamb on the bone (slowly). We would let it cool and then cut thin slices of lamb. We would put on a sizzle platter or baking sheet one or two grape leaves we would then put some lamb slice down and then put some whipped feta with tomatoes on top of the lamb. After this we would cover the feta mix with a few more slices of lamb and then finally cover everything with a few more grape leaves. We would bake this in the oven and serve it with some fava.

Great dish and great flavors.

Athenaeus is also the time when they collect caper leaves? We used to use them all the time but I have yet to find them hear in the states.
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Wow and how did you call the dish?
Did you serve it for kleftiko?
Was this a "napoleon"...??
It sounds fascinating!!!!!

Did you wrap the whole thing in baking sheet??

As for capper leaves : YES!!!

There is a new store with various products of this kind and I bought a jar of capper leaves and another one of tendrils .:lips:

Thanks a lot cape chef!! What is easy for you is in the world of fantasy for many of us, including me :)


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Joined Oct 5, 2001
Nothing exciting, it was simply put as "Lamb wrapped in grape leaves" on the menu. :) I suppose it could be classified as napoleon but I think it was more of a wrapp since the entire dish was wrapped in grape leaves. It was very good which is why I guess they kept it on the menu for as long as they did.

I must confess I do not know what kleftiko is?

As for caper leaves I did a really wonderful dish with them while I was there. Using a nice thick piece of salmon I covered it with caper leaves just like scales on a fish. A little pat of butter on the top and roasted it until the salmon was finished. While it was cooking I took some of the little red tomatoes that grow on Santorini (similar to our cherry tomatoes but they have a more intense flavor) and but them in a blender with some olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh garlic. I blended this on high for a minute or so. When the salmon was done I served it with the tomato sauce served it in pool of the tomato sauce. It was a very fresh tasting dish.

By the way does anyone know where I could get some caper leaves in the states?
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Kleftiko is the dish I was telling you about it the Wrap it thread.

It's meat, usually lamp,stuffed with cheese and garlic that is wrapped in paper and baked in the oven in low heat.

The original kleftiko comes from the period of the ottoman occupation where "kleftes" , Greek guerillas, were baking the lamp in a hole in the soil after having it wrapped in the skin of the lamp.
They covered the hole with soil so as the smoke doesn't tell off their hiding places :)

Very nice dish, typical Peloponessean
In Arcadia, they call it Gkioulbasti.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
How about the leaves of the vines growing on the side of the house? Are they edible?
Joined Oct 13, 2001
Athenaeus , Nicko , Cape Chef , enough your killin me here . This is really good eats . I worked for a greek couple as a young chef and the stuffed grape leaves were out of this world . The Lamb
( sorry CC ) , the Feta , the Capers , oh what great flavors . If anybody out there has not tried this please do as your palate will love you for it . Thanks , Doug
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Of course they are :)
I say of course. I mean if they are the same plants yes they are.
Do you have them Isa up there?
I am surprised !
Joined Jun 9, 2002
I wonder if wild grape leaves are ok? Here, in southeastern Ontario, grape grows wild all over. I have noticed that the tiny grapes are just forming. Is it too late?


Joined Apr 4, 2000
Unfortunately not Athenaeus but I have friends with lots of vines around their house. I'm sure they wouldn't miss a few leaves.... ;)
Joined Aug 11, 2000
I made stuffed grape leaves today....
cooked fragrant rice (Stansil's out of La was what I used)
sauteed onion and garlic
green onions
lemon zest
fold cover with lemon slices, put lemon/water in base of pan and simmer for 45 minutes covered.....was really great, hadn't made them in years thanks for the thread....
We had vineyards in Mo. when do you pick leaves and tendrils?
I love the thought of pickling...what a fun presentation if they stay curly.
Joined Jul 31, 2002
I stuff mushrooms with sauteed onion, garlic, pine nuts and chopped mushroom stems mixed with chopped parsley, oregano and goats cheese. I then lie them on oiled grape leaves in a baking dish and cover with more of the same and place in a hot oven
(200 C) for 20 minutes.
The best looking leaves are then put on plates with mushrooms and juices from the pan and served as an entree or lunch.
They are delicious.
Joined May 26, 2001
Helen J: that looks delicious! Thanks for adding that to our repertoire, and Welcome to ChefTalk. :D
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Since I was a good girl and I have frozen some batches of leaves when they were in season I prepared a couple of times dolmades.
This week-end I had some friends for dinner. I thought that they would be tired of the extra meat consuption of the holidays and I tested the reicpe that Diane Kochylas has in her book for dolmades with salted cod fish...

They were excellent!!!!

Two points though. Kochylas suggests to use basmati rice. I dissagree. Basmati in dolmades gets very dry
She also suggests to use an egg in the cod and rice filling. No need to do that, needless to say of course that I don't like the idea of raw fish and raw egg.

If anyone wants the recipe, let me know!

Joined Jul 24, 2001
There you are Isa!

As I mentioned I have made a few changes in the recipe. I post it here in its original form, copied from Kochyla's book.

1 piece salt cod fillet, about 2 ½ pounds
One 22 ounce jar vine leaves in brine.
½ cup extra virgin olive oil.
3 cups finely chopped white and tender green parts of scallions
½ cup long-grain rice, preferably basmati
3 large firm ripe tomatoes, peeled seeded and finely chopped or grated.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup finely chopped fresh mint
½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 large eggs
juice of two lemons.

Rehydrate the salt cod.

When ready, rinse the vine leaves in a colander. Blanch in batches if necessary for about 3 min. to soften. Drain, rinse under cold running water and snip away the tough stems.

Shred the cod. Heat ¼ cup of the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and cook the scallions, stirring, until wilted. Add the shredded cod and rice. Reduce the heat to low and stir to combine. Add one third of the grated tomatoes and ½ cup water and cook the mixture over very low heat until the liquid has been absorbed, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Season with salt and pepper, add the chopped mint and parsley and stir in one egg, lightly beaten.

Remove the shredded or torn vine leaves and place enough of them on the bottom of an oiled pot to cover the surface. To expedite the rolling, place as many of the remaining leaves as will fit on a table or work surface. Make sure that the leaves are veined side up. Place a scant tablespoon of the filling in the bottom center of each of the vine leaves. Fold up the bottom to cover the filling then fold in the sides and roll up.

Place the stuffed vine leaves seam side down in the pot so that they fit snugly next to one another either in rows or concentrically.

Pour in the remaining ¼ cup olive oil, the remaining chopped tomatoes, half the lemon juice, and as much water as needed to barely cover the rolled leaves. Cut a piece of parchment paper to the circumference of the pot and place it over the dolmades. Gently slip one plate on the top to keep them secure in their place. Cover the pot and simmer the vine leaves until both leaves and rice are tender, about 45 minutes.

Prepare the egg-lemon sauce: Whisk together the remaining 2 eggs and the remaining lemon juice in a small bowl. Uncover the pot and remove the plates and parchment. Tilt the pot and dip a ladle into it to collect the juices. Slowly add the ladleful of the pot juices to the egg-and-lemon mixture, whisking all the while. Repeat with a second ladleful of juices.
Pour the mixture back into the pot, shaking gently from side to side to distribute the avgolemono everywhere, and serve hot.
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