Fiddly but fine!
1 large cabbage
1 1/2 cup rice
1 preserved artichoke grated
Big bunch dill chopped
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 ripe tomato grated
S & P
Choose a cabbage which feels lighter, with loose leaves. If the cabbage is heavy and feels solid, it will be harder to pull away the leaves intact.
Firstly, with a large knife, hold the blade at a slight angle, and sink it as deep as you are able around the base/stem of the cabbage, making a box shaped incision.
Turn your cabbage back the right way up, and bang the cut core section down firmly onto the surface, this will loosen the previously cut pyramid chunk, leaving the leaves easier to remove.
Pop the cored cabbage into a large pan with boiling water and begin lightly cooking the leaves. Using a long handled utensil, such as a bbq fork, you can skewer the cabbage in it`s heart and move it around as the leaves soften and pull away. Fish the leaves out with another fork and pop into a colander to drain. Continue in this way until you have fished the full cabbage out in individual leaves. The intention is not to cook the cabbage leaves, but to just soften them to enable rolling later.
Mix your filling ingredients well, adding a good half cup of olive oil. The mixture shouldn`t be too dry, so add more grated tomato if you feel it needs it. It also requires plenty of seasoning, so be generous.
Blessed as we were today, with a wonderful blue sky and very kind temperatures, it seemed only good sense to make myself a nice coffee and find a corner outside in the warm sun to roll my dolmathes!
Any larger, tough, outer cabbage leaves you haven`t used can go into the bottom of the pan to protect the dolmathes from burning.
Look at the outside of your first cabbage leaf, the central stem of the leaf is quite chunky, trim this down with a knife to bring it in line with the rest of the leaf.
Once you`ve done this, divide the leaf into either 2 or 4 depending on how big it is.
Place a good sized teaspoon of mixture into one corner of the leaf. Pull up the corner from behind and then fold inwards the two sides and roll till you have nice parcel.
Put into the pan, nice and snug and tightly together. You can put a second layer if needs be.
When finished, sprinkle again with salt, a little lemon juice, another generous splash of olive oil, place a plate over the top of them to prevent unravelling, pour cold water over till it just covers the plate, and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to medium heat and leave for approx. 30/40 mins. Snaffle one to make sure the rice is cooked through.
Serve with a good dollop of creamy Cretan yogurt, lemon juice and a dako, or cold as a meze. They can also be served with an egg and lemon sauce, the recipe can be found here.