My mother has grown grapes in her back garden since it was tiny, really tiny. Even before the time when you “could” grow them. Everyone just asked how it was possible for them to grow this far north? If it can grow here by means of evolution or a quick version by human selection I don’t know. But the vines are alive and they even hold grapes every other year or so. There has to be a good summer. They have grown beyond the state where they are just nice to have around, to something we have to take care of, they have occupied much of the outdoor space just next to their house. The vines spread everywhere. Just a pity I didn’t grab a photo of them last summer.
But why do I tell all this? Because it’s strange. We have never thought about the leaves. Ever. And then you have it quite regularly in some oriental cuisines. They have always just been there, in the garden. How blind you can be to the things just next you?
A few months back I made some dolmades and they tasted great. I also grabbed a bunch, blanched them and put them in the freezer. They have been there a few months now. Just until I read a grape leaf pie recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi. Time to use the leaves again. It’s like dolmades but in the shape of a pie, and where the leafs act as the crust. This one is inspired from his version, but made vegan. I’ll hope you enjoy it. What you serve it with is up to you, be creative!
- 15 grape leaves
- 1 yellow, mnced onion
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- ½ tbsp fresh tarragon
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 3 tbsp fresh dill
- 3 tbsp fresh mint
- Zest from one lemon
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and black pepper
- ½ cup rice flour
- 4 tbsp breadcrumbs
- Heat the oven to 200 C or 390 F.
- My grape leaves were frozen from last autumn. I thawed them by soaking in almost boiling water for 10 min. Do the same if you’re using fresh leaves. Canned ones are good to go without any pre-heating.
- Greece a medium pan for the oven. And then evenly spread the breadcrumbs. Layer the grape leaves as a crust. Save some for the top.
- To make the filling or stuffing. Fry the minced onion until golden brown. Add, nuts, herbs, lemon zest and juice, rice flour and the water. Add more water if it gets to thick, it should be like a thick porridge. Season with salt and pepper.
- Fill the grape leaf crust with the filling. Fold the leaves over the filling and add some extra leaves on the top.
- Brush it with some oil and then add enough breadcrumbs to cover.
- Bake it for 30 min in the oven, until crisp and slightly browned. Enjoy!