One of the most gorgeous places we've had the good fortune of visiting is Santorini, Greece. Not only is it one of our favorite places on earth, but they also have a traditional dish called "gyros" they serve at most restaurants and it is to die for. In Greek, the word "gyro" (pronounced YEE-roh) means "turn" or "revolution," and that's just what this fabulous cone of lamb or pork does on an upright rotisserie grill. Most people don't have an upright rotisserie grill, so you can use your grill's rotisserie instead. If you don't have a rotisserie, you can roast this in your oven too.
I've been trying to find the perfect gyro recipe. I've come up with my own version of a recipe that is as close to our favorite Greek restaurant's "Ziziki's" gryos. If you are not a fan of lamb you can use pork shank or pork shoulder or you can even use a fresh ham. I like to serve our gyros with roasted rosemary potatoes. Traditionally in Greece the gyros are topped with french fries, all wrapped in a cone surrounded by pita bread and smothered in Tzatziki sauce. MMMM....MMMM....GOOD!!
1 head garlic, cloves peeled
2 bunches fresh oregano, leaves finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for searing
Freshly ground black pepper
1 boneless leg of lamb, about 4 - 5 pounds
5 large Pita bread (not the pocket pita bread) cut in half
1 head butter lettuce
5 vine-ripe tomatoes, sliced thin
1 red onion, sliced thin
Tzatziki sauce, recipe follows
Finely chop up 1/2 of the garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt. Mash the garlic and salt together with the flat-side of a knife into a paste. Add the oregano and continue to mash until incorporated. Put the garlic-oregano paste in a small bowl, add the lemon juice and 1 cup of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Slice the remaining garlic into thin slivers.
Put the lamb on a large platter, and trim any excess fat. Make slits all over the meat with a sharp knife, and push the garlic slivers inside. Rub 1/2 of the garlic-oregano paste all over the lamb and season the meat with salt and pepper. Put the lamb on a large platter and slather with the remaining garlic-oregano paste. Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
Wipe off the excess paste from the lamb so it won't burn. Place a large roasting pan over 2 burners on medium-high flame and coat with a fair amount of olive oil. Put the lamb roasts in the roasting pan and sear to form a nice brown crust on all sides. Transfer the lamb to the rotisserie or if you don't have one then transfer the pan to the oven (preheated to 375 degrees) and roast for 1 to 1 - 1/2 hours; it should be pink in the center and the internal temperature reads 130 degrees F. If roasting in the oven turn the meat frequently basting often, If roasting on a rotisserie no need to baste because the meats own juices will do that step for you as it rotates. Allow the lamb to stand 10 minutes to let the juices settle before and slicing.
Thinly slice the lamb. Place the meat on each pita bread half. Top with lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and sliced onions. Serve with Tzatziki sauce and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes on the side.
Tzatziki (Yogurt And Cucumber Sauce):
3 cups plain yogurt
1 lemon, juiced
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded and diced
1 - 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine with a fork. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to marry.
Yield: 4 cups
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes
1 - 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
1/4 cup good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoons minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary; toss until the potatoes are well coated. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into 1 layer; roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until browned and crisp. Add more oil if they get too dry. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, season to taste, and serve.