Shrimp, Roe and Dolmades

img_2926-1One of the ways that I “survive” fasting during Greek Lent is by enjoying a diet of shellfish. Shellfish do not have blood and therefore they are acceptable sustenance during the 49 day fasting period.

I do not fast for the full 49 days but I do fast on the first and final week (Megali Evdomada) of Lent. The first dish is so simple that one really can’t call it recipe. What do you call it when you pour a few glugs of olive oil in a skillet, watch for the oil to just smoke and then add the slices of garlic, Greek boukovo (dry chillis) and the whole shrimp? I call it “garides skordato” or simply, garlic shrimp.

You need high heat, thinly sliced cloves of garlic (we’re talking about 6 cloves), some heat in the Boukovo and a quick saute, a 1/2 cup of dry white wine and after a short, one simmer simmer, pour the sizzling shrimp into a platter and garnish with some chopped fresh parsley.

Look at that sauce! You’d think there’s some tomatoes or paprika in the mix but it’s colour is rendered from the shrimp alone. Simply gorgeous – always delicious!

img_2913The next dish is a “must have” in every Greek home during Lent and it’s Taramasalata. Taramasalata is made from the roe of carp and in Greece there are many choices and quality offered but the two main categories are a white and red tarama. The white tarama is the more expensive of the two.

In Greece, what with it’s larger selection of goods on offer, I always gravitate to the taramasalatas that have a hint of smoke in their flavour. Here in Toronto, I can think of maybe three brands of raw tarama that are offered at the Greek grocer, none of which have this smoky finish on the palate

To emulate this favoured tarama flavour, I add a few dashes of liquid smoke into the taramasalata when it’s being whipped in the food processor. Most taramasalatas are either made with soaked white bread or boiled potatoes. There’s no right or wrong way to make it, it simply follows along family tradition and tastes. I first introduced my family’s taramosalata during last year’s Lent and you can view the recipe here.

The third and final recipe in today’s trio are Dolmades Gialantzi. This vegetarian version of Dolmades is the original version…containing no meat. Many families (such as my own) have the meat version more than this but don’t think that these aren’t in any way delicious.

Quality grape vine leaves (mine were hand-picked last year and jarred), fresh herbs imperative. If buying grape vine leaves from a store, taste them to see how briny they are. You may want to soak them in water for 1o-15 minutes to remove some of the salt.

Dolmades Gialantzi are another “staple” during Lent. When one is thrusted into a diet that contains no meat, meat by-product, cheese or eggs…a filler like Domades is most welcome!

Again, my mom’s preferred method of cooking Dolmades is in the oven (many cook them in a pot). She taught me to cook Dolmades in the oven, who am I to cross my mom?

img_2932Dolmades Gialantzi

(makes 50-60, 5 per person)

1 cup olive oil

1 1/2 cups of chopped onions, fine dice

1 cup of scallions, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

1/2 chop copped fresh parsley

4 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint

1 cup of long grain rice

salt and pepper to taste

juice of 1  lemon

Enough water to just cover your dolmades

Pre-heated 350F oven

  1. If using fresh leaves, scald them in hot water, drain well. If using jarred leaves, drain rinse and if too salty for your tastes, soak in cool water for 10-15 minutes and drain.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl (except the lemon juice) and adjust seasoning (salt, pepper, herb ratio) to your liking.
  3. Lay out a leaf on a flat work surface with the stem-side in, place a tsp of the mixture at the bottom, fold the outside parts of the lead inward, the roll up to form a cigar shape.
  4. Place some of the leaves on the bottom of the roasting pan and place the dolmades in  outward radiating circles.
  5. Add the lemon juice and enough water to just cover your dolmades and place in your pre-heated oven for one hour. Allow to cool before serving.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis

© 2009,
Peter Minakis

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55 Comments for “Shrimp, Roe and Dolmades”


Thanks for the explanation about the fasting. I had now idea it was an issue of the animals having blood. A diet of shellfish doesn’t sound too bad either — especially when you’re making dishes that look as beautiful as those shrimp!


Such Torture! That looks absolutely scrumptious.

And the only fish I have to look forward to tonight is the frozen stick variety. Yuck.


You’ve done it again! Now, I’m drooling although it is well after midnight! I adore dolomades!

Cheers and have a great weekend,



The taramasalata almost looks like a light and delicious strawberry mousse not that I think anybody would want dessert after a joyous feast like this….Peter you rock!!!!


the dolmades look delicious Peter. My Armenian grandmother made an Armenian version of stuffed grape leaves, but it was much heavier, with bulgur, ground lamb, tomato, garlic, onion and god knows what else in there. these look light and delicious!


That’s a series of wonderful stuff you get to eat during the Lent:-) I love Shrimp & that is one quick delicious recipe! Thanks Peter.

also wanted to let u know we loved the greek pizza!!



Ah, Peter…dolmades, one of my favorite Greek meze. I planted 4 grape vines last year and hope to have my own fresh leaves this summer. Great new look to your site too!


Is it possible to salivate any further? Great point about the tarama…I’ve seen a lot of different ways of making it. And I like the oven baked dolmades…a very clever idea!


All three of these look terrific. That shrimp with garlic sounds great, as does that taramasalata! I’ve not used Liquid Smoke, but was just checking into it for another dish. Since I now know you’ve used it, I’m not as nervous trying it. Those stuffed grape leaves look great, too. YUM! I’d love to learn how to pronounce many of these dishes. I’m probably destroying the pronunciations with American/Italian enunciations. :-)


Εγω διαλεγω τις γαριδες, τις λατρευω και τις ετοιμαζεις τοσο ωραια !
Αχ, βρε Peter, καλοφαγας αλλα και μερακλης ! Εισαι πρωτος !


What fabulous flavours! So zesty and springy.
This might be a silly question… but I have wild grape vine growing on my fence – is it harvestable and cook-able?


I’ve had taramasalata at restaurants, and loved it. Usually what happens is I’m so full of all the pita and taramasalata that I scarf down that by the time the main dish rolls around, I need to doggie-bag at least half of it. ;)


Hi Peter! How are you? It’s been a while since I visited. The new site looks awesome.

Those shrimp are calling my name. They look amazing! The pictures are great, too.


Your photography is incredible. Wow…and I love love love dolmades. Hmmm…now I have no excuse …I shall have to try to make them. I may well be back!


Fasting on the first & last week alone—that’s one way to do it! Love shrimp and will try your garlic shrimp, especially with that striking sauce. And dolmades have been on my list for a long, long time… What, exactly, am I waiting for?


Sigh Peter, tarama, one of my favourite dips, behind the Lebanese Toum.

I actually took the time last year to learn how to cook it from my Yiayia with her old school equipment she brought with her from Egypt all those years ago.

I should take the time to post it :P
You have inspired me.


I love that taramasalata – so light and tasty! But I’m not sure where to find carp roe around here. Can we substitute with other kinds of roe, say from a Japanese grocery?


Nate, I’ve tried the Japanese roe idea a few years ago and the taste and texture was a different from what I was used to. You can give it a shot but don’t be surprised if you get mixed results.



I’m really not sure how I missed this one – I have you on rss feed! Good grief. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I have the Krynos tarama in a jar. Cross fingers!!



I just finished making my first ever batch. I didn’t find your recipe until too late but I’d already decided to cook them in the oven despite most of the sites telling me to do stove top. They turned out lovely and are a perfect food for Lent. Thank you.

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