DOLMATHES ME BAKALIARO KAI TOMATENIO AVGOLEMONO
- 1 piece salt cod fillet, about 21⁄2 pounds
- One 22-ounce jar vine leaves in brine
- 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups finely chopped white and tender green parts of scallions
- 1⁄2 cup long-grain rice, preferably basmati
- 3 large firm, ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped or grated
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1⁄2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
- 1⁄2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 large eggs
- Juice of 2 lemons
Makes about 70 dolmathes; enough for 8 to 10 servings
1. Rehydrate the salt cod.
2. When ready, rinse the vine leaves in a colander. Blanch in batches if necessary for about 3 minutes to soften. Drain, rinse under cold running
water, and snip away the tough stems.
3. Shred the cod. Heat 1⁄4 cup of the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and cook the scallions, stirring, until wilted. Add the shredded cod and rice. Reduce the heat to low and stir to combine. Add one third of the grated tomatoes and 1⁄2 cup water and cook the mixture over very low heat until the liquid has been absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Season with salt and pepper, add the chopped mint and parsley, and stir in one egg, lightly beaten.
4. Remove the shredded or torn vine leaves and place enough of them on the bottom of an oiled pot to cover the surface. To expedite the rolling, place as many of the remaining leaves as will fit on a table or work surface. Make sure the leaves are vein side up. Place a scant tablespoon of the filling in the bottom center of each of the vine leaves. Fold up the bottom to cover the filling, then fold in the sides and roll up. Place the stuffed vine leaves seam side down in the pot so that they fit snugly next to one another either in rows or concentrically.
5. Pour in the remaining V4 cup olive oil, the remaining chopped tomatoes, half the lemon juice, and as much water as needed to barely cover the rolled leaves. Cut a piece of parchment paper to the circumference of the pot and place it over the dolmathes. Gently slip one or two plates on top to keep them secure in their place. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the vine leaves until both leaves and rice are tender, about 45 minutes.
6. Prepare the egg-lemon sauce: Whisk together the remaining 2 eggs and the remaining lemon juice in a small bowl. Uncover the pot and remove the plates and parchment. Tilt the pot and dip a ladle into it to collect the juices. Slowly add the ladleful of the pot juices to the egg-and-lemon mixture, whisking all the while. Repeat with a second ladleful of juices. Pour the mixture back into the pot, shaking gently from side to side to distribute the avgole-mono everywhere, and serve hot.