|My Stuffed Nasturtium Leaves|
Spring! Do you have tender grape, fig or nasturtium or other tender but sturdy edible leaves - maybe kale?
I love Dolma, I could eat my weight in them!
Dolma, or Dolmades are tender spring grape leaves filled with a grain mixture and simmered or steamed in a lemony broth.
These tasty foods are a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean menus.
Their history is actually ancient, and fig not grape! All the way back to the Greeks and Aristophanes referring to "Thrion" a stuffed fig leaf savory food demanded by Dicaeopolis.*
So the original Dolmas were made with fig leaves (chefs and cooks in Turkey still make dolmas with fig leaves too), then grape leaves, and that is the more common version available today.
Part of this is the available of canned or jars pre-cooked grape leaves, making it easy to whip up a batch whenever the cook/chef wanted.
Looking out my kitchen window back in 2012 I gazed at my huge (7-8 inches across) nasturtium leaves and got to thinking "what if" and bingo I went looking for a recipe to make my own version of dolma with my nasturtium leaves.
These turned out so good I posted the recipe and results at this link My recipe for stuffed nasturtium leaves.
Over the next couple of years I told myself I wanted to make them with some of our fig leaves and always thought of it too late - the fig leaves were leathery and tough -- you want tender and bright green.
Taking pictures of my gardens over the last few days the fig leaves are popping out fresh and bright green - and TENDER! So I will try to make up a batch of both fig and nasturtium stuffed Dolma in the next couple of days.
I encourage you to try making these with your own tender leaves. My recipe makes it easy to use any cooked grain of your choice (traditional is rice, but I used quinoa, I would recommend barley or whole wheat berry as good options) and then add other flavors to enhance the over all flavor.
Some of the first recipes I found when searching back then, called for using the pre-cooked leaves or pre-cooking before stuffing. My recipe is an all-in-one-operation. If you feel your leaves are a bit too tough you can blanch them for 1 minute to make more flexible. Tough stems should be removed. With fig, if you remove the stem, fold the center leaf to overlap so they hold the stuffing in. Working with tender leaves, makes stuffing, rolling and simmering an easy task
Important! You must fit the dolmas in the pot tightly or they will un-ravel. Use carrots or zucchini or similar cut vegetables to fill gaps and you will have a flavored vegetable side snack.
*"The precursor to dolmas is thought to be the Greek thrion a fig leaf stuffed with sweetened cheese."
"In Turkey they make their dolmades with fig-leaves rather than vine-leaves.Stuffed fig-leaf is one of the oldest ancient Greek recipes we possess, a dish called thrion (eggs, flour, honey and cheese baked in a wrapping of fig-leaf)."
Specialty Produce information on using fig leaves in cooking. This site has other recipe ideas for cooking with fig leaves.
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-- Catherine, The Herb Lady
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