Vine Leaves with Aromatic Kingfish and Quinoa


150g white fish fillets, kingfish, flathead or snapper

1 tbsp preserved lemon, flesh removed, skin finely sliced

1 tsp olive oil, preferably lemon infused

1 tbls thyme leaves, picked

24 individual vine leaves (fresh or preserved)

1/4 cup each of red and white quinoa

2 tbsp millet

1 tsp sumac

1 cloves garlic

½ cup pistachios, chopped

Sea salt and ground white pepper, ground

Lemon infused olive oil – to serve 



Place fillets on wax paper or on a plate in a steamer then top with preserved lemon, thyme and lemon oil.  Seal the edges to make an enclosed parcel. Steam fish in the paper until just cooked (this will depend on the size/thickness of the fillet) approximately 5 – 7 min for a 150g fillet. Let cool slightly then flake into medium sized pieces.

Meanwhile, in a pot bring the quinoa, millet, sumac, garlic and water to the boil then drop it to a simmer. Let it cook for approximately 10 min then cover with a lid and turn the heat off. Let it continue cooking in it’s own heat.

Toast pistachios whole, then finely chop – not ground. Set aside.

If using fresh vine leaves: Boil a large pot of water and cook leaves in batches of ten for approximately 1 minute or until soft, but not falling apart. Remove from hot water and wash cooked leaves in cold water. Drain and set aside.

If using preserved vine leaves: soak in warm water then wash well in cold water, drain and set aside.

Mix together the quinoa and pistachios. Season with salt (optional) and white pepper. Then fold through the flaked fish – do not squash or mush the fish, keep it in nice flaked pieces.

Dry each leaf and lay rough side up on board or work bench. Remove the leaf’s vein/stem. Place approximately 1 large tablespoon of mixture in the middle of the leaf, fold the bottom of the leaf over the mixture then fold in each side, then keep rolling until you have a firm parcel. Make sure the leaves are firm enough so they won’t fall apart whilst they’re steaming.  Each piece should be approximately 5cm by 3 cm, rectangular in shape.

Line steamer tray with wax paper, place rolled leaves on top of this and cover with another sheet of wax paper place in steamer for approximately 5 mins,  10 if you haven’t blanched the raw leaves.  Let cool in the fridge for a couple of hours. 

To serve, drizzle with lemon infused olive oil.