During the Great Lent period which is 48 days before Easter, the Orthodox abstain from eating foods containing animals with red blood (meats, poultry, game, fish), as well and products from animals with red blood (such as milk, cheese, eggs, etc.) Fish with backbones are not allowed but mollusks like squid, octopus, shrimps, mussels etc., are permitted, as well as fish roe, honey and gelatin.
There is an exception to this rules as regards fish during two Sundays during the Lenten period. You can eat fish on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) and on Palm Sunday (which is on Sunday preceding the week before Easter). So for those who are fasting, on this Sunday you can freely eat fish, provided it is not cooked with any other animal product.
This recipe was given to me by my sister in law. In the traditional recipe no aromatic herbs such as kafkalithres and myronia are added but these are my addition as well as the lemon zest.
When I made this recipe, I was not fasting so I made it with an avgolemon sauce on top but as an alternative you can just add a “ladolemono sauce on top”.
I was afraid that the children would not like the recipe but as the cod was more than a kilo, I also made some deep fried Cod with batter but they did like it.
Dolmades with Cod Fillets, adapted from a traditional recipe from Lakonia
Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 45 – 50 minutes
Serves: 6- 8
650 grams salted cod
about 60 – 65 vine leaves
1 cup Carolina rice, or other short grain rice
1/3 cup olive oil
I small onion, finely chopped
¾ cup green onions, finely chopped, including the green part
1/3 cup dill, finely chopped
1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp dried mint, crumbled
1 tsp lemon rind
1 tbsp dried bread crumbs
Freshly grated black pepper
1/3 cup kafkalithres, (small hartwort – Tordylium Apulum) – (optional)
½ cup myronia (scandix pectin veneris) finely chopped – (optional)
5 cups water
¼ cup lemon juice
4 tbsp olive oil
Or Avgolemono Sauce (optional):
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
Follow directions to unsalt the cod, as shown in a previous recipe.
In a large pot put some water on the heat and before it starts boiling add the cod and cook for only five minutes.
Remove the cod to a platter and set aside to cool until you can handle it.
In the same water (or you can add fresh water) add the vine leave and simmer for 5 minutes. Put them in a colander, rinse them with cold water and drain.
Meantime remove carefully all the bones from the cod and using your hands flake the cod into smaller pieces.
Add all the herbs, mint, pepper, lemon zest and olive oil and mix well. Do not add any salt.
On each vine leave add 1 tablespoon of the mixture and roll to make dolmades. See step by step instructions here. Do not fold tightly as the rice will expand.
Place each dolmas in the pot starting from the sides towards the center. Cover the pot with a plate and add the water. Bring to boil, lower heat, cover with the lid and simmer for about 45 minutes.
When they are cooked remove the plate and try one and see if they need any salt.
Mix the olive oil with lemon juice (add salt if necessary) and pour over the dolmades.
Let them absorb the juice for 15 minutes and then serve.
To make the avgolemono sauce (see step by step instructions here), beat the eggs, add the lemon juice and olive oil (salt if needed) and broth from the dish, pour all mixture back in the pan and holding the saucepan, toss it around, so that the sauce reaches the bottom.
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!