I'm an absolute fiend for dolma. I will eat them any time, anywhere, and as many as you want to put in front of me. So when my coworker passed along her tips for adapting a Michael Symon recipe to make it more authentically Greek, I jumped on it. This is my take on my coworker's recipe; it's definitely a multi-hour project, but goes much faster if you enlist help to roll and stack the dolmas. —ieatthepeach
25-30 small rolls
uncooked white rice (preferably medium-grain, like Calrose)
(6-8) scallions, thinly sliced
plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and finely diced
chopped fresh dill
chopped fresh mint
salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
In a mixing bowl, combine rice, scallions, tomatoes, mint, dill, cumin, salt, pepper, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1 tbsp lemon juice. Mix until thoroughly combined, then cover and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
While the filling sits, drain the grape leaves and trim away any stems. Choose about 30 of the largest, most intact leaves for stuffing, and set them aside. Line a 2-quart baking dish with a double layer of remaining grape leaves, making sure the bottom is completely covered.
Lay one of the reserved grape leaves out in front of you, veined side down. Place 1 tbsp filling in the center of the leaf. Fold the stem end over the filling, then tuck in the sides and roll up tightly. Place the roll, seam side down, in the lined baking dish. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling, packing the rolls snugly into the dish and layering them as needed.
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Lay over another double layer of leftover grape leaves, making sure that all the rolls are completely covered. Pour enough water into the baking dish to completely cover the rolls. Add remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp lemon juice to the water. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the filling is cooked through and the rolls are tender. Check the liquid level occasionally, adding water as needed to keep the rolls mostly submerged.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and let the rolls cool completely in their liquid. Remove the extra grape leaves, and lift the rolls out of their liquid. Serve at room temperature, with Greek yogurt for dipping (if desired). Store any leftover rolls in an airtight container, drizzled with a bit more olive oil to keep them moist; they’ll keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, getting more flavorful with time.