The Dolmas recipe produces one of the more perfect party appetizers.
And while Dolmas (or Dolmades depending on who you ask) are worth a trip to Greece, you only have to go as far as the kitchen and, perhaps, the gourmet section of the supermarket for the grape leaves. (They come in a jar, by the way.) A welcome addition to a Mediterranean theme party or any party, they pair naturally with Tzatziki, a Cucumber Dip, another great Meditteranean food.
8 ounces grape leaves, in brine (about 40-45 leaves)
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2 cups cooked long grain rice
4 green onions or scallions, finely chopped
1 small red or white onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
1 tablespoon zest of lemon
Salt to taste
1/2 cup pine nuts, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
The Dolmas Recipe is not difficult but it does take a little time.
Start by draining the grape leaves and placing them in a large heat-proof bowl. Pour just enough boiling water over the leaves to cover and let them soak for about 20 minutes. Drain again and rinse under cold running water.
In the meantime, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the rice, mint, lemon zest, salt to taste and pine nuts. Mix thoroughly, making sure the rice is well-coated with oil.
Assembling the Dolmas:
To stuff the grape leaves, spread out one grape leaf in front of you, vein side up and stem end toward you. Place about 2 teaspoons of the rice mixture in the center, fold stem end over the filling, bring the sides of the leaf toward the center and roll tightly, forming a cylinder. Repeat until all the filling in the Dolmas recipe is used.
Place the Dolmas close together and seam side down in a large skillet, in a single layer, if possible. If not, separate the layers with extra grape leaves.
Drizzle the lemon juice and the remaining olive oil over the Dolmas and add boiling water to cover. Cover the pan tightly and simmer for 1 hour. Let the parcels cool in the liquid, then transfer them to a serving platter.
Serve at room temperature. Makes 40 to 45 appetizers.