Grilled Feta Cheese in Grape Vine Leaves with Olive Oil Grilled Grapes
Grapevines are one of the most important trees in Palestine. It’s up there after the olives in agricultural value. In Arabic or in Palestine in particular we call the grape vines “dalieh” دالية the hanging branches are highly praised in a Palestinian home. It even has an architectural value. Growing up we had few daliehs that my grandfather planted. He took so much pride in clipping and trimming its climbing branches to make a natural gazebo of sort in Arabic we call it عريشة .. our family gathered under its shade in the summer. So many stories were told and so many meals were consumed under the arisheh. During early spring and real early in the morning hours before the sun gets hot, my Siti “grandmother” set to pick the tender leaves to preserve for stuffing for the winter months. Today I am missing summer in Palestine and a family gathering under the grape دالية dalieh. A block of salty feta drizzled with Olive oil, wrapped in a package of grape leaves grilled till its slightly soft and warm. I served the soft salty cheese with olive oil grilled grapes. The combo of textures and sweet and salty flavors are a big summer hit. May the grapevines always tangle together, and reach for the sky wild and free.
These vines are by my home in Chicago. They grow wild and free. And i am so lucky as i get to enjoy them
This grape vine is in my family's home in Palestine. My grandfather planted these so many years ago and they might be as old as my father.
This grape vine is my family's home in Palestine. My grandfather planted these so many years ago they might be as old as my father.
Serves 4 as an appetizers
8 large fresh grape leaves washed well (or in brine often found in middle eastern stores) if you are using grape leaves in brine make sure to rinse them well to get rid of the excess salt
A block of good quality feta cheese about 8 ounces about an inch of thickness so it holds its shape
2 tablespoons olive oil
Few pinches of chili flakes (optional)
1-2 bunches of grapes (I used red grapes) about a pound total and on the vine
Serve with pita wedges or crackers
This method is great for baking or grilling.
- Preheat the oven to 375 °F. If you are grilling the cheese on the grill make sure you grill it on medium heat with the grapes straight on the fire. It won't take long a few minutes on each side until charred and cheese is slightly soft and the grapes are caramelized.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Drizzle one tbls of olive oil all over the grapes (make sure you keep them intacked on the stem).
- Lay out all the grape leaves on a flat surface, make sure they overlap
- Place the feta block in the center of the grape leaves.
- Drizzle with the remaining olive oil over the cheese. Then sprinkle with the Chili flakes if using.
- Gently wrap the feta in the grape leaves to make a nice package. Put the seam side down so it doesn’t open on the grill or in the oven.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Serve the wrapped cheese with the roasted grapes.
Tip: Serve hot while the cheese is soft and slightly melted. When ready to eat peel away the grape leaves (although they are completely edible but they might be too charred at this point). Enjoy a piece of cheese with the caramelized sweet grapes. The sweet and salty flavors are so perfect together.