Thursday, June 3, 2010

In the Kitchen :: Turkish-Spiced Shrimp & Lamb Kebabs

I christened my new outdoor grill this past weekend and concurrently came to the conclusion that it's indeed time I invest in a new camera (at least it's a business expense), sigh. But back to the food, I can't think of anything better on a long weekend than an impromptu grill-out with a few close friends--my patio is tiny, so you know I really like you if you're on the guest list. Having just returned from Turkey, I created a summery dinner around some of the spices I brought back from Istanbul's expansive Spice Market. Here's what the Turkish/Mediterranean-inspired menu turned out (and I apologize in advance for the shoddy pics, though my good friend Kafi performed her photo-taking best): Turkish Shrimp & Lamb Kebabs
serves 4 to 5

1 lb large wild-caught shrimp, peeled
3/4 lb lamb shoulder, cut in 1 1/2 to 2" chunks
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Turkish kebab spice blend, divided *(blend of coriander, cumin, cayenne, pepper and more. you can find special blends at Middle Eastern speciality shops or online retailers like Kalustyan's, Penzey's or Zamouri Spices)
1 zucchini, sliced
1/2 large red onion, sliced into thick half-moons
12 button mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
8 to 10 metal or bamboo skewers (*soak bamboo skewers first so they don't burn)

In two separate bowls, marinate shrimp and lamb with olive oil and spice blend for 20-30 minutes. Skewer shrimp in a 'C' shape, alternating with zucchini, onion and mushrooms, about 3 shrimp per skewer. Do the same with the lamb.
Place kebabs on a heated oiled grill. Cook shrimp kebabs 3 minutes on each side or until done, but not rubbery and tough. Cook lamb 8 to 12 minutes total, turning once (8 minutes for medium rare, closer to 12 for medium well).

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
No Turkish meal would be complete without yogurt dip, or cacik. It's the perfect cooling compliment to spicy dishes, kebabs, or really anything you can think of. Word of warning, after a few glasses of vino, you might find yourself licking the spoon and the bowl...yes, it's that good.

5 oz 2% Greek yogurt
1/2 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 cucumber, finely grated

Stir it up and you're done!

The rest of the meal...

Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Radish, Mint and Pecorino Romano
I grabbed snap peas that morning at the farmers market and they were by far the best I've had yet this season - crisp, sweet and so good, I could have easily downed the whole bowl if I didn't have to share (damn having to be a nice hostess). Blanch about 3 cups of snap peas in boiling water for 2 minutes and place in an ice bath to keep them green and crunchy. Using a mandoline, slice 4 radishes super-thin. Toss snap peas and sliced radish with 1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
(recipe above)

Cucumber, Tomato and Red Onion Salad
Toss together a simple mix of sliced cucumbers, heirloom or vine-ripened juicy tomatoes (locally grown are my fave, the taste is unbeatable) and thinly sliced red onion. Lightly drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and 2 teaspoons or a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a bit of sumac (a tasty Turkish/Middle Eastern spice used for salads, sliced onions, fish, rice pilaf and more) on top and you've got a gorgeous, summery salad that's packed with antioxidants and low on the calories.


Anonymous said...

Beauty, unaccompanied by virtue, is as a flower without perfume...................................................

長卉長卉 said...
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EleanoreBla昭彥 said...
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Spice Rack said...

Nothing beats this kind of dish! hmmmmm my favorite. Keep all the spices into a fixed sealed spice rack help preserve the potency and freshness of the spices.