I have posted recipes from “Moro The Cookbook” by Sam and Sam Clarke before. After Ottolenghi’s “Jerusalem”, this is one of my favourite collection of recipes from the Middle East. As the name “Moro” suggests, the recipes in this cookbook are a Spanish-Islamic fusion dating back to the Moors who came from Morocco and ruled the Iberian peninsula (Spain, Portugal, Andorra, parts of Southern France and Gibraltar) for nearly 700 years.
Given I am a vegetarian, I have probably not used this book to its full capacity but the vegetarian recipes such as Aubergine and red pepper salad with caramelised butter, Carrot and cumin salad with coriander and fatayer that I have tried so far have been spectacular. This recipe is another one of Sam & Sam’s vegetarian gems – the sweet tartness of the orange, the salty-oiliness of the olives and the crispy-gooey-saltiness of the grilled feta are a match made in heaven.
Do give it a try and let me know what you think!
10 – 20 vine leaves in brine (Usually sold in a bottle of brine or a sealed packet)
100 grams of Greek feta cut into 2.5cm (length) x 1cm (width) x 1cm (thickness) pieces
1 tsp of dried
For the orange salad
3 small oranges or 2 large oranges
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 large bunch of flat leaf parsley
20 oily black olives
sea salt and black pepper
1. Soak the vine leaves in cold water for 2 x 30 minute intervals and then drain and pat them dry. Pinch any tough stalks (veins) off the leaves and set them aside.
2. While the leaves are soaking, make the orange salad.
3. To make the salad chop the tops and bottoms off the oranges using a paring knife. Then working from the top of the orange to the bottom, remove all the skin(orange bits) and pith (white bits) so that all you are left with are the juicy segments within. Chop the orange segments along the line that is midway between the naturally occuring segments. Finally, remove any additional pith and seeds bits from the segments. I will put a video of this process online as soon as I make one for ease of use. Save the juice from chopping the oranges to sprinkle over the salad.
4. Arrange the orange segments in a circular pattern on your serving plate. Then place the olives in between the orange segments, such that there are 2 segments on either side of it that don’t have olives (see image above).
5. Sprinkle the parsley leaves over the olives and orange.
6. Finally, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil on each plate and sprinkle freshly ground pepper on the salad to suit you fondness for pepper.
7. To assemble the feta and vine leaf rolls, place a washed and dried vine leave on a chopping board or a flat surface. Place the feta cube on the bottom-most part of the leaf (see pictures below). Sprinkle dried oregano on the feta (I forgot – clearly!). Fold the bottom part of the leaf over the feta and pointing towards the top of the leaf. Then fold in the left and right hand side of the leaf in towards the feta cube. Holding the feta cube covered in leaf, role the feta upwards to be enveloped by the remainder of the leaf. It should look rectangular as the cube of feta did when you started.
8. Skewer the rolled feta onto a small wooden skewer. Then repeat step 7 until you have made 10 all together – 5 per skewer.
9. Grill the skewers under a hot grill (Mine was set at setting 5 (maximum being 6) for 5-8 minutes such that the vine leaves are dry but do not burn. I grilled some slices of bread at the same time.
10. To serve, place the skewer and grilled bread on the orange salad, sprinkle any orange juice from peeling the oranges onto the feta. Eat while it is hot and the feta is nice and gooey.