For the filling:
To wrap and cook:
* If you’re using table salt or fine sea salt, use less than the recipe calls for. Kosher salt is coarser and less compact.
** Any tomato-based spicy salsa will do, except for fresh salsas like pico de gallo.
*** If you’re using fresh grape leaves, this recipe will work just right. If you’re using store-bought pickled grape leaves from a jar, hold back a little on the lemon and salt and be sure to rinse and dry them. If you’re using frozen, make sure they’re thawed ahead of time. If the grape leaves you’ve picked are on the small side, you’ll need more of them. In this case, layer one more on top of the other, with the stems staggered about an inch apart, to form one long grape leaf. But if they’re all medium, try to use the larger ones for stuffing, and the smaller ones to layer over the top. Make sure you prepare fresh grape leaves ahead of time.
**** The potatoes taste really good, although they look extremely ugly. They’re just there to keep the delicate grape leaves on the bottom from scorching. They’re a treat for the chef, not for the guests.