Lamb Pita with Tahini Sauce and Zhug

Lamb Pita with Tahini Sauce and Zhug

Inspired by Miznon, Tel Aviv, Israel

Lamb Pita with Tahini Sauce and Zhug | http://saltandwind.com Lisa Samuel goes on an annual trip to Tel Aviv and when she goes back this year she'll head directly to Miznon for the lamb pita. But until she can...
Ingredients
19
Hands-On Time
30 minutes
Total Time
30 minutes
Yield
4 pita / 1 cup tahini sauce / 1 1/4 cup zhoug
Servings
4
Diet
Lamb Pita with Tahini Sauce and Zhug | http://saltandwind.com
Skill
Beginner
Course
Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Sandwich, Snack
Cuisine
Israeli, Middle Eastern
Ingredients
19
Hands-On Time
30 minutes
Total Time
30 minutes
Yield
4 pita / 1 cup tahini sauce / 1 1/4 cup zhoug
Servings
4
Diet
Dairy-Free
Lamb Pita with Tahini Sauce and Zhug | http://saltandwind.com

Lisa Samuel goes on an annual trip to Tel Aviv and when she goes back this year she'll head directly to Miznon for the lamb pita. But until she can get there, she'll make this Lamb Pita with Tahini Sauce and Zhug – it’s as close as you’ll get to the real thing without hopping a flight to Israel, which she highly recommends should you get the chance.  For the most authentic version, buy the softest pita you can find and seek out a tahini from Israel or Lebanon, which you can often find in Mediterranean markets.  

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 5 garlic cloves

    divided

  • Sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

    divided

  • 5 jalapeños

    or other spicy peppers, halved and seeded (if desired)

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds

    toasted and ground, divided

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coriander seeds

    toasted and ground, divided

  • 3/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds

    toasted and ground, divided

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves and stems

    about 2 1/2 cups, divided

  • 1/2 bunch Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

    about 1 cup

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

    finely chopped

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 whole wheat pita
  • 1 Persian cucumber

    trimmed and thinly sliced

  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes

    halved

Instructions

For the tahini sauce: Add the tahini paste to a bowl. Place 1 garlic clove on a cutting board and pour about 1/2 teaspoon of the salt on top. Using the side of a chef’s knife, smash the garlic and grind it with the salt until it turns into a paste. Add the garlic-salt paste to the tahini, along with 1/4 cup of the lemon juice, and about 1/4 cup of water. Stir together with a fork until the tahini sauce is blended and becomes the consistency of honey. Add more water, if needed. Taste for lemon and salt and adjust, as desired.  

Tip

Tahini sauce will keep in the refrigerator for one week.

For the zhug: Combine the jalapenos, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 2 garlic cloves, half of the ground cumin seeds,1/4 of the coriander seeds, 2/3 of the ground cardamom seeds, 2 cups of the cilantro, the parsley, the black pepper, the lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of the freshly-squeezed lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender. Pulse several times, until all the ingredients are blended but the sauce is not pureed. Set aside until ready to use. 

Tip

Zhug will keep in the refrigerator for one to two weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

For the pita: Finely chop the remaining cilantro then add to a large bowl with the ground lamb, the remaining garlic cloves, the mint, the remaining coriander seeds, the remaining cumin, the remaining cardamom, the red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon of the sea salt. Using your hands, gently incorporate the herbs and spices into the lamb.  Divide the lamb mixture into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into a meatball.

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet or a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Brush the bottom of the pan with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil and then add the lamb meatballs to the hot skillet, being sure not to crowd the pan. (Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook the meatballs in two batches.) Brown the meatballs on each side, turning them as they get a dark golden crust on the outside, about 8 to 10 minutes total. Remove the meatballs to a plate and keep warm.

To build the pita, place two heaping tablespoons of tahini sauce in the bottom of the pita. Add three meatballs to the pita and then tuck cucumber slices and tomato halves into the side of the pita.  Top with additional tahini sauce, if desired, and a little bit of zhug or a lot of zhug, depending on how spicy you like it.

Footnotes

Food styling and photography by Lisa Samuel of Simmstown

http://saltandwind.com/recipes/335-lamb-pita-tahini-sauce-and-zhug-recipe

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