Incorporating a unique appetizer like Grilled Stuffed Grape Leaves at your next cookout will quickly turn you into the grill master of the group.
Culinary creations from around the world use many different kinds of leaves to wrap food. From banana and plantain leaves to bamboo and lotus leaves, there’s no shortage of different types you can try.
But, what’s the purpose? Not only do leaves protect the food you’re cooking from direct flame, but they allow you to infuse a subtle flavor into your dish as the juices steep inside.
Banana leaves are a sturdy leave to use as a wrap, whereas grape leaves are more fragile and smaller than banana leaves. So you’ll make smaller wraps. But, smaller in size does not mean the taste is lacking.
Grape leaves are culinary sponges, absorbing the flavors of whatever they’re cooked with. They also need to be grilled on low heat, so that the leaves don’t dry out and become tough.
Choose grape leaves that are light green and tender. You want to choose leaves that show new growth at the top of the plant. According to Nancy Gaifyllia with The Spruce, you want to count down about three leaves from the new grow and pick the next two to three leaves. Then move to the next stem to pick a few more leaves.
You can use the leaves from any type of grapes, but the Sultana grape plants have hardier and more flexible leaves which are great for wrapping.
When you’re ready to grill grape leaves, place the leaves with the vein side up with the tip facing away from you. Fill them with about a tablespoon of the filling. Fold your leaf and grill!
A helpful tip is to baste them throughout the grilling process to keep them moist and tender.
You can roll them around a bit on the grill—but, remember to keep the grill closed as much as possible to allow them to heat evenly.
Incorporating grilled grape leaves as an appetizer will quickly turn you into the grill master of the group.