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Bluefish wrapped in grape leaves

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July 23, 2008

Serves 4

Grape leaves are bottled or canned and sold in a brine to preserve them. Carefully remove a bunch of leaves, unroll them, and rinse them in one or two changes of cold water. When working with fresh grapevine leaves, blanch them in a large pot of boiling water for a few minutes to soften them, then drain and rinse with cold water. The bluefish for this recipe should be 3/4- to 1-inch thick.

1/4 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 thick pieces boneless bluefish, skin intact (6 to 8 ounces each)
Salt and pepper, to taste
About 12 to 16 grape leaves, stems removed
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat.

2. In a medium bowl, combine basil, parsley, chives, marjoram, and olive oil. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper.

3. On a work surface, place 3 or 4 grape leaves, slightly overlapping, so the surface area is 2 to 3 inches larger than the piece of fish. Spoon some of the herb mixture onto the flesh side of the fish and place the fish flesh side down (skin side up) on the leaves. Spoon a little of the herb mixture onto the skin side. Fold the grape leaves over the fish to create a little bundle. (Don't make it too tight; the leaves will stick together during cooking.) Repeat with the remaining fish.

4. Place the bundles seams up on the grill. Grill 5 to 6 minutes. With tongs, turn the fish and grill 5 to 6 minutes more. To determine if the fish is cooked through, stick the point of a small, sharp knife through the grape leaves into the fish, then touch the knife to the inside of your lower lip. If the knife is hot (not just warm), the fish is done. Serve with lemon wedges. Adapted from Rocca

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