Monday, April 7, 2014

NEW RECIPE: Deconstructed Gyro

© Constantine William Spyrou

A very popular theme in modern, fine dining cuisine is to take a classic dish that everybody knows and loves, and giving it an update. I've seen it done with fish tacos, Steak Diane, tuna casserole, etc. I've even attempted a couple of my own with dishes like Greek Lamb Wellington, Orange, Coffee and Chipotle Pulled Pork, and a variety of others. It's a lot of fun and a definite challenge to do, but can make extremely innovative and delicious dishes if you can pull it off! 

What I want to transform in this recipe is the classic Greek gyro. A popular street food, this dish consists of lamb (and sometimes also beef) cooked on a rotating spit with herbs and spices. This delicious meat is then served in a toasted pita with some traditional tzatziki sauce, which is a zesty cucumber-Greek yogurt dip, and feta cheese. This dish is going to include all of those elements, but in different ways. 

Instead of spit-roasted lamb, I will be marinating and pan-frying lamb breast, which is a cheap and delicious cut of meat. For tzatziki and feta, I will be making a salad using cucumber ribbons, Greek yogurt, and feta. Finally, instead of serving it all inside of a pita, the pita will instead be a garnish to add some crunch and texture to the dish in the form of a crumble served over the top. Taking all of these elements and transforming them will be exciting for sure! 

Recipe makes one serving.

For the Salad: 

1/2 cucumber, cut longwise
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup crumbled Feta Cheese
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp fresh chopped mint
Salt and pepper to season

For the Lamb:

1 6-oz portion of lamb breast, bone-in
1 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp dill
Salt and pepper to season

For the Pita Garnish:

1/2 piece of pita bread
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp toasted cumin seed
1 tsp toasted fennel seed
Salt to taste


1. Combine the ingredients for the lamb marinade together well. Place the lamb breast into the marinade for at least 30 minutes.

2. Brush your pita bread with the olive oil and toasted cumin and fennel seeds. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes or until extremely crispy. Pulverize the pita into tiny bits, then set aside.

3. Using your vegetable peeler, shave off long ribbons from the cucumber to make the base for your salad. Mix in the yogurt, lemon, feta, seasoning, and herbs, then set aside in the fridge to chill for about 10 minutes.

4. Take the lamb out of the marinade and directly into a pan on medium-high heat. The lamb has enough oil on it to be able to cook without adding any extra into the pan. Cook for 3 1/2 minutes on each side, then let the lamb rest.

5. When plating, place the lamb breast on the bottom. Add a generous amount of the salad on top of the lamb, and sprinkle the crumbled pita over the top.

The star of this dish without question is the lamb. Rather than being hidden within a ton of pita bread, it can shine out while retaining the warm toastiness of the pita and the zestiness of the cucumber salad to back it up. The lamb really comes to the forefront in this reinvented Mediterranean classic.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =) 

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