Herb-Roasted Trout in Grape Leaves
Grape leaves are delightful, not only for stuffing but for wrapping fish or chicken, leaving you with a moist and fragrant dish. This dish is overlaid with my favorite Moroccan flavors. I love to serve this fish as a main course on Passover lunches and other long holidays, and give my family and guests a break from the rich meat dinner fare, but of course you can cut it right across and serve it as a first course. Please note the recipe has no salt listed anywhere, so as to mitigate the saltiness of the brine the grape leaves are preserved in.
1/4 cup olive oil, plus a little more for brushing on the tops
1 large onion
1 bunch flat parsley, stems and leaves
1 bunch dill, stems and fronds
4 ribs celery, peeled
2 good pinches saffron
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Good pinch ground cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
6 rainbow or brook trout, about 1 pound each, butterflied and totally boneless
11/2 dozen grape leaves, blotted dry
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Heat the oil in a skillet. In a food processor, coarsely grind the onion, parsley, dill and celery. Add the mixture to the hot oil, and sauté until translucent. Add the saffron, paprika, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper, and sauté 2-3 more minutes. Stuff the fish with the mixture, using it all up. Make a shallow gash in the center of the fish on each side. Roll each fish tightly in the grape leaves, overlapping them if necessary, so as to encase the fish completely. Arrange the wrapped fish in a baking pan just large enough to fit them, open side down. Brush the fish with a little olive oil. Bake 35 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: Grilling the fish. If you have an outdoor grill, preheat it and the fish at a medium temperature, turning over once.
Image via cookstr.com