There is so much to celebrate in Spring, so many spring things that it is hard to keep up with them. One such abundant item in Spring is Grapevine Leaves. Of course, you think of Dolmades, but there are also other ways to enjoy this green taste of spring. For example, Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves (delicious) and Grapevine Leaf Pecorino Parcels. Then there are rice mixtures, baked in vine leaves, and, of course, feta or goat’s cheese wrapped in vine leaves.
This recipe also uses goat’s cheese – I love a goat’s milk feta too – which is mixed with herbs, pinenuts and preserved lemon, and wraps the mixture in vine leaves before grilling. My preference is to make these when the BBQ is lit, perhaps to roast red peppers, and we make them as a snack with a squeeze of lemon juice. Grab your goat’s milk feta from your local Middle Eastern shop.
If you are using fresh vine leaves, the leaves from a fruiting grape vine are softer then those of an ornamental grape vine. I have used the ornamental vine leaves, and they are great, particularly for baking, but fruiting vines are better for stuffing and wrapping.
Do you have mixture left over? No worries, it is great on crusty bread or crackers.
Similar recipes include Baked Feta with Tomatoes.
Char Grilled Vine Leaves Stuffed with Goat’s Cheese and Pinenuts
fresh grapevine leaves, blanched, drained, and the stem and main vein removed, or use preserved/ tinned leaves, properly rinsed
150 g goat’s cheese – I love to use a soft goat’s feta from my local Afghan/Middle Eastern shop which is not as sharp as Greek feta
1 tspn extra virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
0.25 cup pinenuts, toasted
2 Tblspns chives, finely chopped
2 Tblspns flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 Tblspn preserved lemon, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
slices of lemon
To remove the stiff central vein of the fresh vine leaves, remove the stem (use a scissors), then cut a thin V shape into the leaf, removing about 1/3 of the main vein.
Mix all of the ingredients expect for the vine leaves and lemon slices.
Lay the vine leaf vein side up (or use 2 leaves together), on a chopping board. Mould a piece of feta into a small sausage shape, and place it across the base of the leaf.
Roll the leaf over once, then fold in the sides of the leaf. Continue to roll into a sausage shape and brush with a little oil. Cook under a grill or on a BBQ hotplate for 4 or 5 minutes, or until they start to colour and blister. They are quite soft when they come off the grill, so stand for a few minustes before serving – around 5 minutes.
Serve with some chopped herbs or lemon slices, and enjoy.