Recipe: Mediterranean Inspired Lamb Flatbread

The other day I was in the mood to make some fish tacos at home, but the local market I went to only had these small onion flatbreads. So, I decided to scrap the idea for the night. The  flatbreads actually turned out deliciously for my “new” tacos—or really chalupas maybe—and I ended up having a few of them leftover. So I thought of what I could do with a flatbread and was feeling in a very Mediterranean mood. I felt this was a very appropriate recipe since I’ve dedicated the last couple of weeks of blog posts to my recent vacation in the Middle East, and decided to do a fusion of Greek and Israeli cuisines.

These (not so mini!) lamb flatbreads were an experiment, but I knew the flavor combinations would mesh well together. The spicy lamb mixture, the creamy and tangy feta sauce, the briny pickled red onions and the soft, chewy onion flatbreads make a killer combination for dinner, appetizers or even to entertain!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of ground lamb
  • 8 oz block of Feta cheese–I’m going to echo the Barefoot Contessa by saying that you should make sure to use a quality feta in your dish—preferably Greek or Bulgarian
  • 1/2 cup of lemon juice
  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 teaspoon of mint, dried
  • 6 large garlic cloves (or 8-9 small cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons of black pepper
  • (optional) Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 7-8 dried red chilies
  • 1/2 can of pitted Black olives
  • 1 teaspoon Olive oil
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

Feta sauce:

  1. In the food processor, add the 3/4 of the feta cheese, lemon juice, yogurt, mint, 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  2. Whir it up until the feta is completely broken up, but the sauce still has some consistency to it—I like my sauce to still have some body to it, but blend to your own preference
  3. Taste for seasoning!—I don’t add any salt since the feta is already so salty, but everyone has a different palette.

Pickled red onions:

  1. Peel and slice the red onion thinly and place into a sieve or pasta strainer with small holes
  2. In a jar or bowl—whatever canister you’d like to use to make your onions, I use a mason jar for my leftover—pour the sugar, tablespoon of salt and crushed red pepper
  3. Cover with water and fill the jar, but leave enough room for the onions as well. Stir to dissolve
  4. Add the vinegar—plain white vinegar is alright as well. Even rice wine vinegar could make these delicious for a banh mi sandwich
  5. Boil a few cups of water in a kettle or on the stove, and when the water comes to a boil, pour over the onions
  6. Place the par-blanched onions into the sugar-salt bowl. There should be enough water/vinegar mixture to cover all of the onionsPhoto May 18, 11 48 35 PM
  7. Leave for at least one hour, but I left mine most of the dayPhoto May 18, 11 50 55 PM.jpg

Lamb mixture:

  1. In your food processor—no worries if it has residual sauce, it’s all going on the same dish—finely chop the olives, chilis, and remaining garlic
  2. Mix together the lamb, salt, cumin, oregano, chile-olive-garlic mixture, olive oil, and the rest of the pepper in a bowl—use your hands to really get the meat to absorb the marinadePhoto May 18, 8 42 24 PM.jpg
  3. Don’t mix the mixture too much or you might make the meat tough when it eventually cooks
  4. Let the meat sit and absorb the spices and marinade ingredients for at least 30-45 minutes and up to overnight

To assemble the flatbreads:Photo May 18, 11 33 11 PM.jpg

  1. Lay flatbreads flat on a baking sheet—a pita or even naan bread would be a good substitute. Just make sure you use a bread that has a large flat surface and has some heft to itPhoto May 18, 11 35 25 PM.jpg
  2. Spoon some feta sauce on the bread and spread around the surface with a spoon to almost the edge—I put a good amount of sauce, but don’t use it all!Photo May 18, 11 38 00 PM.jpg
  3. Using your hands, spread the equal amounts of the lamb mixture onto each flatbread and form into semi thick layer—at first I was going to cook the lamb first, but actually ended up forgetting to. By the time I remembered, it has already started cooking and the fat from the lamb ends up absorbed by the bread and flavored the whole dish amazinglyPhoto May 18, 11 38 40 PM
  4. Sprinkle some feta over the top of the lamb, and slide these babies into the ovenPhoto May 18, 11 47 18 PM
  5. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes—some ovens vary so if your oven tends to get super high, maybe stay on 350 insteadPhoto May 19, 12 05 53 AM
  6. Remove from oven and let rest for a couple of minutes Photo May 19, 12 05 55 AM
  7. Scatter some picked red onions all over the flatbreads after it comes out of the ovenPhoto May 19, 12 07 49 AM.jpg
  8. Crumble some fresh feta over the top, as well as a few dollops of feta sauce
  9. This last step is purely optional, but I thought it gives it a wonderful fruity afternoon and a bit of panache. Pour a little bit of thick balsamic vinegar over the top to garnish. I used a deliciously thick grapefruit, white balsamic that I had in the pantryPhoto May 19, 12 09 44 AM.jpg
  10. Slice with a pizza cutter and enjoy! Απολαύστε το γεύμα σας!
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Recipe: Bagels and Lox Pizza

I’m home this weekend for the Passover holiday aka “no carb week,” and many of my memories revolve around food. Since I grew up in New York City, Sunday mornings in our house usually consisted of bagels, lox, cream cheese, whitefish and more appetizing if company was coming. I was inspired to share my recipe for a modern twist one the classic bagel and lox sandwich.

 Lox is simply smoked salmon that has also been cured. It’s usually salty, and is a New York classic. My pizza recipe will help you stretch your lox farther, and this is a great dish to entertain with. Your guests will be so impressed with your creativity! 😉 Salmon, dill, lemon and creme fraiche come together to form an elegant dish that’s great for brunch, dinner or any time of the day!

Ingredients:

1 ball of pizza dough – you can make your own dough, but I find it easier to buy premade dough from the grocery store. You can also ask your local pizza place for a ball of dough, if you really love their crust. Most will sell it to you with no problem

1 container of crème fraiche

1 large lemon

2 tablespoons of capers, drained

1 medium to large shallot, chopped

 

 4-6oz of smoked salmon, roughly chopped

Fresh dill, chopped

Sesame seeds

Granulated garlic or garlic powder

To Make the Pizza:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and if using a pizza stone, place it in the oven
  2. Grease your pizza pan with cooking spray all over
  3. In the meantime, stretch the dough by hand. Slowly start pulling the dough outward
  4. After it is stretched a bit, then use both hand and pass the dough through your hands, and slowly pull it a bit as you pass it through. It might feel like it will break, but the dough is strong, just keep going until its much wider
  5. Once the dough is very stretched, place it on your pizza pan and stretch it out to the edge. If it springs back, then use your fingers to push into the dough all over to keep it steady. In addition, poke it all over with a fork to stop it from rising too much in the oven. You want pizza, not bread!
  6. Once the dough is stretched to the edge of the pan, pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the top and make sure the whole top of the pizza has a light coating of oil
  7. Sprinkle the dough with garlic—use as much as you want, but I don’t recommend any more than a fine layer all over since it will overpower the salmon
  8. (Optional) On the outer edge of the dough, where the crust forms, sprinkle a layer of sesame seeds–this step is optional, but it’s a nod to the bagel inspiration behind this pizza. I like sesame bagels, but this would be great with some poppy seeds, and delicious with some eveeything seasoning if your local bagelry will part with some 
  9. Pop the dough into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes  
  10. Remove the pizza crust and allow it to cool for at least 15-20 minutes. You might want to put it in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes if you’re in a rush  
  11. Once the crust has cooled, zest the lemon and add it to the crème fraiche. Mix well to evenly distribute  
  12. Spread the crème fraiche mixture all over the crust, leaving the sesame seed lined crust as a border of the pizza
  13. Sprinkle the pizza with some salt and a good amount of freshly ground black pepper  
  14. Allow the crème fraiche to set, and then spread your pieces of smoked salmon around the pizza. A nice single layer is best and will make sure your crust can hold all of the ingredients  
  15. Drain the capers, and sprinkle around the pizza—they will most likely fall into the crevices between the salmon pieces  
  16. Repeat this process with the chopped shallots—I like shallots since they’re not as strong as onions in terms of flavor, but give a nice onion-y flavor to the pizza. If you want a more mild onion taste, then chopped scallions are a good substitute. If you want something with a little more of a bite, then red onion is always great as well—just remember, raw onion is not as sweet or mild as cooked
  17. Scatter the dill all over the pizza. If some pieces are smaller or larger than others, that’s fine. I like my pizza a little more rustic, since it shows that it’s homemade!
  18. Add another pinch of black pepper and squeeze the juice of ½ of the lemon over the top  
  19. Use a pizza cutter, or a very sharp chef’s knife, to cut the pizza into 8 pieces    

Serve garnished with the other ½ of the lemon cut into wedges. Enjoy!