Wrapping fish in grape leaves (or fig leaves, or banana leaves...) is a great way to grill flaky seafood without worrying that it will stick to the grill. In Ben Sargent's new cookbook, The Catch, he pairs thin, flat flounder fillets with a smoky tomato and caper compote (grilling the tomatoes while the heat is at full throttle). By using flavorful leaves to wrap the fish, Sargent subtly smokes and sweetens the flounder, while allowing the fish to gently steam.
Why I picked this recipe: The simple elegance is what drew me into this recipe (well, that and the grilled tomatoes).
What worked: The sweet and salty tomato compote was a fine sauce for the fish, and the perfume of the leaves added complexity that other more modern fish wrappers (foil or parchment) cannot.
What didn't: I wasn't able to figure out how to seal the fish inside the leaves on their own. But a few pieces of butcher's twine tied tightly around each packet solved the problem easily. I'd recommend figuring out your tying/wrapping method before heading out to the grill.
Suggested tweaks: Sargent suggests substituting fig leaves for the grape leaves if those are easier to source (they were for me). I'd guess that you could use banana leaves as well. Any flat fish fillets will work here if you can't get flounder.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. Follow her @KateHWiliams.