Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Giving the People What They Want: Greek Nachos

In the last few days I've gotten three requests for this recipe. Probably because I told you I was going to give it to you like three weeks ago and I teased you with a photo of their deliciousness. Shoot. Better late than never?

I'm sure you know all about Mark Bittman. He had a column in the NYT called the Minimalist for 13 years (and 700 recipes!). I briefly mentioned him in my cookbook post. He's an avid home cook (per his humble description) and food writer and overall cooking badass. Basically, he makes delicious food seem really easy. Lately he has a focus on using meat as more of an accent than a main course, lightening up the way we eat, and consuming real food. We at the White Hot household love everything about that mindset.

Hugh and I started making these after we watched about a hundred hours of Minimalist videos one Sunday afternoon. A forewarning before you click on that link: these are short, entertaining, and will make you hungry. They might even prompt you to get right into the kitchen and start cooking.

The idea behind the conception of these nachos is that this classic bar food can be really spectacular, but not that difficult, when you make them at home with real ingredients (no canned yellow cheese sauce here). We concur, Mark, we concur.

Greek Nachos
barely adapted from Mark Bittman
serves 2 (per the White Hot household, MB says they serve 4 but he must not know how delicious these are)

4 pita pockets, whole-wheat or white, cut into wedges
About 1/2 cup olive oil
4 ounces feta cheese
1/2 cup yogurt, preferably whole-milk, Greek-style
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2lb ground lamb
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped (or 3/4 cup chopped grape tomatoes)
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange pita wedges on baking sheet. Brush wedges with 1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake 5 minutes. Flip wedges over. Bake until they begin to turn golden, about 5 more minutes. The idea is you want them to crisp up a bit, but not be completely crunchy. Turn oven off. Remove wedges from oven and sprinkle with salt. Return wedges to oven to keep warm.

In the meantime, in a food processor combine feta, yogurt, 1/4 cup olive oil, mint, parsley, juice and zest of the lemon, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Process until smooth. If mixture looks thick (it should be pourable but not runny), add 1 - 2 tablespoons more olive oil and pulse to combine. Taste and salt as necessary (I like to salt after you blend and taste because the feta is super salty, so you'll probably only need 1/4 teaspoon).

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and cayenne pepper and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add lamb, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and cook until meat is cooked through, about 5 - 8 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adjust as necessary.

Divide chips between 2 plates, top with half of meat mixture, tomatoes, cucumber, and olives. Drizzle with feta-yogurt sauce. Eat it up:

Notes: You will probably have leftover sauce. Don't worry. The next day you can make more toasted pita wedges and dip them in the saucy goodness. Or just eat it with a spoon.

Also, we like to serve these with a little bit of hot sauce.

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