Baked Goat Cheese Wrapped in Grape Leaves
Stuffing grape leaves with all sorts of tasty bits is as old as old can get. It’s first-century Mediterranean fare that was (and still is) part of a mezze assortment. We borrowed that idea to bake up some sinfully soft cheese to serve with an assortment of our salami. Good things never go out of style.
See Cook’s Note on how to pit olives.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Cover the grape leaves with cold water and soak for 5 minutes. Drain, and pat dry. If the stems are too thick, cut them out. Lay 4-5 leaves on a work surface, stem side in the center, overlapping in a circle to create a circle of grape leaves. Repeat with the remaining leaves to create a second circle.
Stir the salame, olives and chives together in a small bowl. Spoon half of the mixture on top of the center of each pile of leaves and put a disc of cheese on top. Wrap the leaves around the cheese, making sure to not have any holes, using additional leaves or pieces as necessary to enclose. Flip and place seam side down on the parchment, drizzle a little olive oil on top and rub into the leaf. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to form a second package.
Bake until the leaves start to brown and the oil bubbles around the base, about 6 minutes.
Remove to a serving plate and use a very sharp knife to cut through the leaves. Spoon or scoop out the warmed cheese onto bread or crackers.
To pit olives, put them on a cutting board. With the flat side of a chef’s knife, press on each olive to loosen the pit. Wiggle the pit out from the flesh.