Cristina Ferrare's Lamb Gyros With Tzatziki Sauce


Ingredients for Lamb

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • ½ medium onion, minced
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
  • ½ cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 pieces of Greek pita bread, or 4 pita pockets
  • 2 cups tzatziki spread (recipe below)
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce 4
  • (9-inch by 9-inch squares of aluminum foil, set aside.)

Ingredients For Greek Salsa:

  • 2 quarts baby Roma tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 medium cucumber, seeded, skin on, diced into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • Cracked pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 ounces Greek feta cheese, crumbled

Ingredients For Tzatziki Spread:

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced small
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt

  • Normally – made with compressed lamb on a spit. This recipe calls for ground lamb, pressing it, slicing it thin (from sausage)
  • You can choose to make lamb a few days early
  • You need GREEK Pita Bread – need to put oil on both sides before briefly heating on a hot grill.
  • 1 cup Greek Salsa -- (recipe below) or 8 paper-thin slices of red onion and 8 (1/4 inch) slices of tomato

Recipe for Lamb:

  • Make the Greek salsa first, and set aside. You will have some left over.
  • In a bowl, combine the lamb, onion, scallion, parsley, mint, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, salt, and cayenne pepper. Using your hands, mix all the ingredients together well. Form 7 to 8 cylinders (about the size of a sausage), 4 inches long and 1 inch wide.
  • Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet on high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil and heat until it starts to smoke. Add the lamb, and turn the heat down to medium. Saute, turning every minute, for about 12 minutes. Remove from the skillet and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Brush the pita bread lightly on both sides with the remainder of the oil. To heat the bread, using tongs, hold each piece over a gas burner set to low, and move it back and forth for 20 seconds on each side, until heated through. Be careful not to burn it. Place the bread on a plate, and cover to keep warm.
  • To assemble the gyros, slice the lamb into long, ¼ inch thick slices. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of Tzatziki spread over each piece of warm pita bread. Add a handful of lettuce and ¼ cup of Greek salsa. Place the sliced lamb on top.
  • Lay a square of foil in front of you on a cutting board with one of the corners at the bottom (so the square looks like a diamond shape). Fold the top half over 3 inches. Place a folded gyro on the foil, leaving 2 inches of foil showing on the bottom. Fold the bottom 2 inches of the foil over the bottom of the gyro. Fold the sides over the gyro, first the left, then the right. You now have a leak-resistant pouch, just like the ones you get from the street vendors in New York. Enjoy!

Recipe For Greek Salsa:

  • Stir the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, and pepper to taste together in a bowl. Let stand at room temperature until ready to serve.
  • Just before you serve, add the salt. If you put the salt in too early, it will extract the juices from the vegetables and will make the salsa runny. Add the crumbled feta cheese. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe For Tzatziki Spread:

  • Place cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, mint, and dill in a bowl and mix well. Add the Greek yogurt and mix well.
  • Cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 to 3 hours before serving.

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