I came up with this recipe for an earlier contest, but Enunn says it's good cold and recommends it for a picnic, so I'll give this contest a shot too! It's salty and briny and lemony, so make sure anyone you serve it to likes sour flavors. I used cod, but I actually think salmon would be ideal. The sesame topping was a happy accident -- I meant to pour in a little bit of sesame seeds into the sumac-lemon juice mixture and it got away from me...but it turned out to give it a really nice texture, like coarse mustard. If you want more of a thyme flavor, double the thyme. You will probably need a few grape leaves to wrap your fillet, and the best part about this dish is that the outer layer will get crispy on the grill. The texture turns out to be a bit like nori, and the taste is briny. I made my fish parcel into a burger, putting the whole parcel in a toasted hamburger bun. It was a really interesting texture combination to have the toasted edges of the bun, the soft bread, the crispy grape leaves, and the fish inside. For a topping, I would suggest mayonnaise, fruit chutney, or a tahini sauce. I'm including an easy tahini sauce here. - clintonhillbilly —clintonhillbilly
Test Kitchen Notes
I really like this dish. So easy and quick to prepare -- loved the flavor and texture the grape leaves added to the fish, in addition to the za'atar-like spice combo (I used salmon). Also: it was delicious cold and would be good on a picnic at room temperature. You can pick it up to eat. It helps to slice the shallot thinly, and I think this dish would be good with a plug of butter instead of olive oil for a change (horror!). - ENunn —The Editors
Mix together sumac, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh thyme, and sesame seeds.
Place each fish fillet on top of a grape leaf. Top with each with 1/3 of the sesame-sumac mixture and half a shallot, sliced. If desired, include a lemon slice in each parcel as well.
Use remaining grape leaves to wrap each fillet completely.
Place on top of a hot grill and cook 5-7 minutes, then turn it over and cook another 5-7 minutes. Cooking times depend on the size of your fillet -- the general rule is 4-6 minutes per half-inch of thickness.
Combine and stir thoroughly until tahini is well-combined with yogurt. Add lemon juice to taste, add honey if you want it a little sweet. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add a little water.