Salmon Ambelou | Salmon wrapped in Grape Leaves
In this episode I’m showing you how to make salmon wrapped in grape leaves. This is a popular dish in Mediterranean cuisine and has a unique cooking technique that works very well. A lot of people cook fish in parchment wrappers or aluminum parcels and this recipe is the same idea. This salmon is wrapped in grape leaves and baked so it ends up steaming as it cooks, which keeps the fish moist and delicious.
I usually buy a jar of grape leaves at our local Greek store, but you could also order them online. In Greece most people have grapevines in their yard and just pluck off the leaves they need for this dish. Feel free to do that if you have grape vines growing on your property! No matter what leaves you use, they need to be rinsed and cleaned. They should be drained so they aren’t dripping wet, but not totally dry or they will get crispy and burn in the oven.
The flavor in this dish comes from the yummy topping we place on the fish before it bakes. As it cooks in the oven everything melds together and gives the fish incredible flavor. The key to making this work is wrapping the fish really well so there are no holes and the steam can’t escape. It’s okay if the leaves turn a little brown while it bakes, this is normal.
After the salmon has finished baking unwrap one parcel and check it for doneness. Then unwrap them all and serve them with rice, orzo, and perhaps a prassini salad (here). This is such an easy and delicious way to cook fish, I hope you enjoy it and add it to your home cooking repertoire this summer.
Ambelou means “vineyard” in Greek. At our Greek restaurant this was a very popular dish because it was light but still very flavorful. The grape leaves act as a packet so the salmon cooks completely and absorbs all the flavors from the topping.
1 lb jar grape leaves 6 6-ounce Salmon fillets
Salt for seasoning the fish Pepper for seasoning the fish ½ white onion, finely chopped 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 tbsp capers, drained 1 whole roasted seeded red pepper, drained and chopped 1 medium tomato, chopped ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Rinse and drain the grape leaves. Remove the leaves from the jar, unwrap them, rinse them under running water with a colander, drape them on the colander or lay them flat on a clean kitchen towel and dry for while you prepare the other ingredients. They don’t have to be completely dry to be used, you just want to rinse off any brine they may have been packed in.
Place the salmon baking sheet lined and set aside.
Add the chopped onion, chopped garlic, capers, chopped red pepper, chopped tomato, chopped parsley, and olive oil and mix it together thoroughly.
Season salmon generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
Lay out 4 to 6 grape leaves, depending on the side, stem side up, slightly overlapping. Place the salmon in the center of the grape leaves. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the mixture on top of the salmon. Then lift up the grape leaves on one side, pinch in the ends, and roll up the salmon like a burrito.
Place the packet seam side down on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the tops of the leaves with olive oil.
Bake the salmon for about 12 minutes. The leaves will be dried out and dark brown. Remove the salmon packets from the oven and cool slightly while you prepare the sauce.
Prepare the ladolemono sauce by whisking together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oregano.
Place the salmon on a platter and drizzle the sauce over all the packets. Add sliced lemon rounds on top of each one, serve and enjoy!
Nikki Glekas is the owner of Nikki Glekas Events, a full-service catering and events company located in Stamford, CT. She is currently operating with COVID-safe procedures and is happy to discuss your event and catering needs with you. To discuss further please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203.658.8659.