50 vine leaves
(best vine leaves to use are the tender ones that are first to come out in spring)
2 large onions grated
½ kg rice
1 bunch chopped fennel
5 fresh mint leaves chopped
Juice from 2 medium lemons
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Wash the leaves in cold water.
Place them in a large pan of boiling water for no longer than a minute – just to soften them.
Remove the protruding edge of the central stem from each leaf.
Place the leaves individually flat in a shallow oven dish and allow to cool.
In a shallow pan, gently fry the onions in 3 tablespoons of oil.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir the mixture just the once before removing from the heat.
Place 1 level teaspoon of the mixture in the centre of each leaf and fold the leaf to make a small rectangular package.
Spread 5 vine leaves at the bottom of a shallow pan and place the dolmades next to each other in the pan with the folded side underneath.
When you have completed one layer, make another layer of dolmades on top of them and then finally a third layer.
Add the rest of the olive oil as well as 1 cup of water.
Place any remaining leaves across the top of the layers and then place a heavy plate on top to cover most of the surface.
Put the lid on the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes or until there is only oil and no water.
Remove the plate and add the lemon juice.
You may now remove the dolmades from the pan and serve.
from: channel4 for food