Goat Cheese Grape Leaf Bundles with Melissa
Primo Restaurant in Rockland, Maine, is known for its delicious Mediterranean fare, and these flavorful bundles, created by chef and owner Melissa Kelly, are no exception. Served warm atop mixed greens, they make a delightful lunch entree or dinner first course.
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh or dried lavender
- 1 tablespoon chopped winter savory (optional)
- 1 jar grape leaves (preferably from California), in brine, rinsed and stems trimmed
- 1 pound fresh goat cheese
- Coarsely ground pepper
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Mixed greens, for serving
- Juice of 1 lemon, for serving
- Picholine olives, for serving
- Grilled bread, for serving
In a small bowl, combine thyme, rosemary, lavender, and savory. Fan out 3 grape leaves on your work surface, vein side up, joining them at their stem ends. Using an ice-cream scoop, place 4 ounces goat cheese in the center, and sprinkle with 1/4 of herb mixture and a grinding of pepper. Wrap leaves over cheese to enclose. Repeat with eight more leaves and remaining cheese. Store remaining leaves in the refrigerator indefinitely.
Place bundles in a shallow dish or jar, and just add enough oil to cover. Cover with plastic wrap or lid, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 weeks.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove bundles from oil, and drain well on paper towels. Place on grill, folded side down, until leaves are slightly browned, about 3 minutes. Carefully turn over bundle (cheese will be soft and capable of seeping out), and repeat.
Serve bundles warm atop mixed greens tossed with lemon and olive oil. Open leaves slightly to reveal the fresh herbs. Garnish with olives and bread.