Fish Wrapped in Grape Leaves | Greek Food – Greek Cooking – Greek Recipes by Diane Kochilas

Fish Wrapped in Grape Leaves

The whole spirit of the Aegean is in this dish. I like to use fennel, which grows wild all over the Aegean, to perfume my fish. Grape leaves add a beautiful astringency and make for a gorgeous presentation. Easy elegance with the pared down essential nature of the Aegean! I can feel the salty sea breeze on my face when I eat this!


  • large potatoes

  • large fennel bulb

  • – 2 large firm
    ripe tomatoes

  • fresh rosemary sprigs

  • Olive oil as needed
    about ½ to ¾ cup total
  • Greek sea salt and freshly groundblack pepper to taste
  • bunch fresh parsley

  • bunch fresh thyme sprigs

  • bunch fresh oregano sprigs

  • – 12 grape leaves

  • whole sea bream or sea bass
    about 3 pounds/ 1 ½ kilos, scaled and gutted

  • – 3 tablespoons ouzo

  • – 3 tablespoons water

  • lemon
    sliced into thin rounds

For the Ladolemono Dressing:

  • tablespoons
    fresh lemon juice

  • tablespoons
    extra virgin Greek olive oil

  • teaspoon
    Dijon mustard

  • Salt
    pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/170C.

  2. Peel and rinse the potatoes and set aside in a bowl of cold water until ready to use. Trim the root end off the fennel and cut the bulb in half and then into thin slices. Reserve and chop the stalks and fronds and set them aside to use inside the cavity of the fish. Cut the tomatoes into thin rounds.

  3. Lightly oil a baking pan large enough to hold the vegetables and fish snugly. Slice the potatoes into round or oval slices about 1/8-inch thick. Place potato slices, fennel slices and tomato slices in alternating layers, season each layer lightly with salt and pepper and a drizzling of olive oil, and interspersing the rosemary sprigs between the layers.

  4. On a clean work surface or cutting board, place 6 grape leaves vein side up in one overlapping layer large enough to swaddle the fish once you place it over the leaves. Season the fish inside and out with salt and pepper and stuff the cavity with the remaining chopped fennel stalks and fronds as well as the parsley, thyme and oregano sprigs. Don’t worry if some of the herbs spill out.

  5. Gently place the fish over the grape leaves. Place 2-3 grape leaves vein side down over the surface of the fish. Bring up the bottom leaves on which the fish is resting and wrap them around the sides and surface of the fish, to enclose all but its head and a bit of its tail. Gently place the grape-leaf-wrapped bream over the vegetables in the pan. Spritz with ouzo and water. Top the fish with the lemon slices. Cover with parchment and aluminium foil and bake for a half hour (rule of thumb is 10 minutes per pound), until the fish is flaky.

  6. While the fish is baking, make the dressing: Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper until emulsified and set aside.

  7. Remove. Carefully remove the fish using two large spatulas and place on a serving platter. Place the vegetables around the fish. Serve, with the ladolemono dressing on the side.

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Anamnesia / Benaki Museum Shop / Bougatsadiko Thessaloniki Stou Psyrri / Denezis Wines / Domaine Douloufakis / Domaine Papagiannakos / Eidikon Taverna / Electra Metropolis Hotel / Feedel Urban Gastronomy / Fillo Food & Coffee / Fish Tavern Giorgakis / Fresko Yogurt Bar Acropol / Galaktokomika Karyas Cheese Products / Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports / Kappatos Gallery / Kitsoulas Taverna / Kyriakos Fakaros Jewelry / Metamatic Taf / Mokka Cafe / Nezos Restaurant / O Allos Anthropos Social Kitchen / O Kalos O Mylos / Off White / Olympion Restaurant / Pantopoleio tis Mesogiakis DiatrofisPeinirli Ionias / Psaradiko Tou Tsaliagou / six d.o.g.s / Souvlaki Chronis Xpress / Stani / Taverna To Trigono / The American School of Classical Studies at Athens / Tselepos Winery / Veletakos Fish Taverna

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