Yesterday I noticed that the wind had blown one of the branches off our table grape vine. It needed pruning anyway, but I didn’t want to waste the fresh leaves. The obvious use for them would be dolmas – stuffed vine leaves – but I didn’t really have time to make them, so I used them to make a layered rice dish.
I cooked some sliced onion in olive oil until it was soft – this takes at least ten minutes and preferably longer, and a sprinkle of salt helps bring out the sweetness in the onion. For the last few minutes I added a couple of chopped cloves of garlic and a teaspoonful of ground piment d’Espelette (paprika). I removed them from the pan, added a little more olive oil then began to layer the vine leaves and rice. A layer of leaves, half a cup of uncooked rice, half the onions, half a teaspoon of salt, half a chopped, peeled tomato, some chopped oregano and a tablespoonful of raisins. Then a layer of leaves followed by another layer of the other ingredients, and all finally covered by a layer of leaves. I added three cups of water and cooked the rice slowly for about half an hour until all the water had been absorbed.
The vine flavour had permeated the layers of rice wonderfully and my new dish went well with a pot-roasted chicken and some pickled lemon relish.
For the relish, I used three Moroccan pickled lemons, a couple of chopped garlic cloves and a bunch of chopped mint leaves, simply mixed together.
On a grey, thundery evening the light was disappearing by the time the chicken was cooked and I couldn’t take a good photo of it, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that it was delicious too!
That sounds wonderful – I just had duck confit, but I could manage some of your dinner 😉
I was introduced to dolmas as a young boy. One of our neighbors would harvest some of Grandpa’s grape leaves each Spring and send us a platter of dolmas in appreciation. Wow! They were wonderful. Your “deconstructed” version here sounds every bit as good, the perfect accompaniment for your roasted chicken. Your salad is completely new to me but I sure would like to try it. I’ve not seen pickled lemons for sale but I have seen them made at home. Maybe it’s time I give the recipe a try …
I saw something like this in the pot of the cafe owner. It was a whole cabbage stuffed with rice. Both yours and his look wonderful.
Great idea. I’m made for preserved lemons and your relish is such a simple and wonderful idea. Perfect dinner – if only the the weather would emulate its quality:)
What a greta dish — we need to cut our vine back this week so I will be making this!