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Alaskan Cod Grilled in Grape Leaves with Ouzo-Fig Butter

Servings: 4

Try something a little different by wrapping portions of cod in grape leaves. It’s not difficult and makes a delightful surprise at the table when you cut open the packet to see the steamy white fish inside. The grape leaves get beautifully charred on the grill, and they taste delicious eaten with the succulent fish and flavorful butter. If you have tender young grape leaves in your garden, you can use them instead of brined grape leaves from a jar. Fresh leaves just need to be blanched briefly in boiling water and drained.


For the ouzo-fig butter

  • 3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 dried figs, stems removed, finely chopped (about 3 Tbs.), or 2 fresh ripe figs, stemmed and chopped
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. ouzo
  • 1-1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt

For the cod

  • 4 5-oz. pieces Alaskan cod loin
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 large jarred grape leaves, well rinsed with cold water and patted dry
  • Olive oil, for grilling
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 340
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 200
  • Fat (g): 23
  • Saturated Fat (g): 12
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Cholesterol (mg): 100
  • Sodium (mg): 890
  • Carbohydrates (g): 9
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Sugar (g): 5
  • Protein (g): 23


Make the ouzo-fig butter

  • In a small bowl, using a silicone spatula, stir and mash the butter with the figs, ouzo, zest, thyme, and 1/4 tsp. salt until well blended. Season to taste with salt.

Grill the cod

  • Season each piece of fish with salt and pepper, and then use a small rubber spatula or butter knife to spread about 1 Tbs. of the butter on one side of each piece.
  • Put the grape leaves shiny side down on a work surface and trim off the stems. Overlap about 4 leaves to create a rough circle approximately 8 inches in diameter, with the stem side of each leaf pointing inward.
  • Put a piece of fish, buttered side down, in the center of the circle, and fold the leaves up and over so the fish is completely enclosed. Bind the package with 2 pieces of kitchen twine, knotting each piece in the center where they cross.
  • Repeat this process until all the fish is wrapped in grape leaves. Put the packets on a baking sheet or in a wide, shallow container. Refrigerate the fish until ready to grill. Place any remaining ouzo-fig butter in a small serving dish and set aside at room temperature.
  • Prepare a medium (350°F to 375°F) charcoal grill fire. Using a long-handled spatula, push the coals to the center of the grill; or light the center burner on a gas grill and heat to medium. Brush the fish packets with olive oil on both sides. Oil the grill grate. Grill the packets on the edge of the fire, covered and with the vents open, turning once, about 4 minutes on each side, until the fish reaches 125°F when tested with a digital thermometer; the grape leaves should be a little charred. (If any butter leaks out, you may get a flare-up, so keep your eye on the packets and move to a cooler part of the grill if necessary.) With a fish spatula, transfer the fish from the grill to individual serving plates. Serve with the lemon wedges, and pass the remaining ouzo-fig butter.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • user-343169 | 07/09/2018

    Excellent. Fish was very moist and the fig butter was so flavorful. Will make this again.

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