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What to stuff when grape leaves are out of season?

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Is there a leaf that you can buy in northern climates and stuff?

Other than cabbage, which imparts a distinctive flavor.

Can you stuff any of the lettuces?

I'm talking middle eastern style stuffed grape leaves. I could stuff zucchinis or peppers. and I would kill for zucchini flowers to stuff (I'll even schlep to Union Square for them this summer). What I want to know is whether anyone has stuffed anything like Boston lettuce, and whether it worked.

I know that you can buy grape leaves in jars, but, even setting the saltiness aside, the effect is very different than fresh.

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  1. Chard? I've never tried it, but I'd think it'd work better than a raw lettuce leaf. It's pretty flexible even when raw, but the recipes I've seen for stuffing it call for it to be cooked, I think.

    1. Savoy cabbage has a more delicate flavor and may not impart the qualities you dislike in regular cabbage. (It's definitely less cabbage-y, which is why I prefer it in vegetable soups - lets the sweetness of other vegetables come through).

      1. Chard is a good idea but it can be delicate. I would try Kale as the leaf is stronger but is tasty even if only lightly cooked (such as sauted) and doesn't lose shape like chard. Although it is very curly and you may have trouble taming it. I recently had stuffed veggies at Ima restaurant and they had a stuffed onion, which was amazing. She took a layer of a large onion and stuffed it and then rolled it closed envelope style. It was really good-a nice change from the usual zucinni, cabbage, grape leaves etc... I am definitely going to try that. I assume she blanched the onion round first to soften it but i'm not sure.

        1. Black kale. Corn husks. Banana leaves. Radichio leaves.

          1. Shiso -- Japenese geranium leaves.

            1. Thanks. I ended up using savoy cabbage, The cabbage flavor really is less strong and I wanted the Moroccan spicing to shine. It did. But I'm going to broaden my repertoire of leaves for stuffing.

              1 Reply
              1. re: AdinaA

                Here's a link to a recipe that suggests either chard or grape leaves: http://www.ifood.tv/recipe/stuffed-ch...
                I'd also suggest this info taken from another recipe that gives better detail on how to handle the chard: "In a saucepan or skillet large enough to submerge chard without folding, bring water and salt to a boil. Blanch leaves, one at a time for about 20 to 30 seconds, just to soften. They should remain bright green with limp stems. Drain in a single layer on a paper towel-covered cookie sheet. Set aside.
                To assemble, cut off thickest part of stem by cutting a "v" shape about one inch up from bottom of leaf. Turn leaf face side up and overlap bottom cut edges. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of filling near stem. Fold bottom sides in and roll to enclose the filling. Place open edge down in prepared baking pan. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling." from: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recip...
                I used this technique frequently last summer when my CSA portion was over-supplied with chard.