April 20, 2013
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[Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]
I recently embarked on an olive oil tour in Turkey and was pleasantly surprised by what I found: liquid gold rivaling its Mediterranean counterparts. I loaded my suitcase with all the bottles, spices, and Aegean sea salt I could fit.
Long after I returned home, the meals I had haunted me. They were uniformly fresh and vibrant. I can't help but think about Turkey as I turn my thoughts to spring. From silky raw sea urchin with nothing more than a squirt of lemon and turn of black pepper to crisp salads and lively seafood stews, it was an epic adventure.
In that spirit, I've made Turkish "meatballs," or kofta, reminiscent of ones at Sultanahmet Koftecisi—a storied kebab house—in Istanbul. Instead of traditional lamb, I substituted grass-fed beef, which I find just gamey enough.
Do take time to properly chill the skewered meat before grilling. Otherwise, the meatball kebabs will fall apart. Likewise, take care when turning them (and don't turn them too soon). The initial flip is the trickiest part; once they start to cook, you're golden.
Scoop them up in pita, and top them with minty yogurt sauce, onion salad and pickled hot peppers.
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Grilled Beef Kebabs with Yogurt-Mint Sauce and Onion Salad »
About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.
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