7082 CUCUMBER DOLMA
BY ANA SORTUN (CAMBRIDGE, MA)
(4) 7082 cucumbers, halved lengthwise
16 grape leaves (from a jar or fresh), stems trimmed
1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and ground
1⁄2 cup toasted sesame seeds
1 cup finely chopped scallions
1 cup crumbled sheep's milk feta or grated halloumi
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons pure pomegranate molasses, preferably Mymoune
4 tablespoons butter and/or olive oil
12 nasturtium blossoms (optional)
- Using a tablespoon, scoop the seeds out of the cucumbers. Set aside.
- Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil and drop the grape leaves in for one minute. Drain, then rinse them well with cold water. Set aside on a baking dish lined with paper towels.
- In a medium bowl combine the walnuts, sesame seeds, scallions, feta, parsley, mint, dill and pomegranate molasses to make a filling.
- Stuff the filling into the cavities of each cucumber and pack so that the filling comes almost to the edges. Wrap each cucumber tightly with 2 grape leaves.
- In a large sauté pan heat the butter and/or oil over medium heat. Sear the cut sides of the cucumber halves until golden and crisp, about 6 minutes. Flip and sear on the other sides for about 3 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve immediately with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. Garnish with nasturtium blossoms.
- Put the Dijon, cilantro, parsley, green coriander seeds, olive oil, garlic and 1⁄4 cup of the white wine vinegar into a blender and pulse to get it moving. Turn on high and blend until smooth. Add a touch of water if it’s too stiff to blend, but do not overmix. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toast the pistachios for about 10 minutes—they should still be chewy once cooled. Set aside.
- In a large bowl mix the entire box of kosher salt with the remaining white wine vinegar. Spread the wet salt on a baking sheet and place all but 1 beet on the salt. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, place in the oven and roast for 30-45 minutes (larger beets will take longer), until the beets are tender when pierced with a paring knife. Set aside to cool.
- Once cool, peel off the skins by rubbing them with your hands, then cut the beets into wedges.
- Peel the skin off the remaining uncooked beet and shave it on a mandolin into thin rounds. Salt the slices lightly and set aside.
- In a food processor, whip the ricotta on high for about 10 minutes, or until shiny and smooth.
- To serve, toss the roasted and sliced raw beets in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread the ricotta onto a platter, leaving a well in the middle. Spoon some of the coriander vinaigrette into the well, followed by half the beets and half the pistachios. Repeat with more spoonfuls of the coriander vinaigrette and the rest of the beets and pistachios. Garnish with cilantro flowers and a sprinkle of Maldon salt.