For many years we lived in cities where casual Greek bistros were easy to come by and Mexican food was nowhere to be found. Now we have a fabulous neighbourhood Mexican place, but we miss our Greek tavernas. C’est la vie. So now I cook the menu “Casa Greque” at home. It is popular and so easy. If you want something different and tasty, try it for a casual dinner. It’s an easy way to entertain friends. You can use the lamb burgers, as my husband calls them, for hors d’oeuvres. Make them small, and serve them with the same toasted mini-pitas and Tzatziki – a tasty garlic yogurt sauce.
1lb. ground lamb best quality organic
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1½ tsp salt
2 tsp. zatar (Middle Eastern spice blend) or 1 tsp. thyme
1tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground black pepper
Mix well and form into four patties and refrigerate
Cook on a rack in a hot 450/220 oven for about 20 minutes
(Optional: drain thick good quality low-fat yogurt in paper towel-lined strainer for one to two hours. This makes the yogurt thick, some call it “yogurt cheese” – if drain the yogurt, start with 2 cups of yogurt as it will shrink.)
1½ cups of yogurt
Add 1-2 crushed cloves of garlic to yogurt and salt to taste
Optional and recommended: ½ cup very thinly sliced English cucumber
Make Tzatziki before anything else and let it sit. You can make the Tzatziki with undrained thick yogurt and it will be fine.
Serve toasted pitas – mini pitas are nice. Slice ripe tomatoes, herbs, lemon juice, olives and crumbled feta for a complete and tasty Mediterranean feast. Drizzle everything with a little good olive oil if you like, but use a light hand.