With Assistant Editor Jess Kapadia out on vacation, we’re rerunning some of her best What To Eat: Lunch columns.
Stuffed grape leaves are a dish many people have seen and, for some odd reason, decided not to try. What could possibly be inside that shiny, dark greenish-brown parcel? Candy? Wrath? A boat? Suck it up and bite in, cause it’s outrageously delicious in there. If you’re not already a fan, you’re missing out on something great. The rice filling is seasoned with a bright, savory blend of olive oil, fresh chopped mint, lemon juice and toasted pine nuts.
Known in their homeland of…well, the entire Mediterranean and surrounding countries as dolma or dolmades, stuffed grape leaves are an incredibly versatile and varied dish eaten at lunch and dinner, as well as for holidays and special occasions. They’re an important part of any mezze platter, that heavenly spread of small bites, pickled things, dips, spreads and flatbread you find at Mediterranean restaurants. So while you’re already at a place that serves Greek salad, falafel, shawarma or any of our other Mediterranean favorites, take advantage of the very likely possibility that grape leaves are on the menu (and are a way more exciting side than fries).
Why grape leaves and not something less obscure and more commonly stuffed or rolled, like cabbage or lettuce? Well they had to do something with all those winemaking leftovers.