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Mar 7, 2011 05:54 AM

What to stuff when grape leaves are out of season?

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.