Greek cuisine is a subset of Mediterranean cuisine, making particular use of ingredients native to the region such as olive oil, grains, wine, fish, vegetables, spices, cheese, yogurt, and herbs. Greek cuisine also tends to consist of meats such as lamb and poultry. Typical Greek dishes are refreshing and zesty (frequently using lemon to achieve this effect), employing the use of various native spices.
Even with its ancient roots, Greek food remains a favorite in the modern culinary scene — among cooks and eaters alike. Below are 7 delicious Greek recipes that you can try making at home for dinner.
1. Lamb Souvlaki with Tzatziki
Souvlaki is a popular Greek dish consisting of skewered vegetables and meats, generally served alongside a dill and yogurt-based tzatziki sauce. Lamb is most commonly featured in souvlaki, but can be replaced with a meat, meat substitute, or vegetable of the server’s choosing. This recipe from Emeril Lagasse of the Food Network has a light and refreshing lemony zip — a typical characteristic of Greek cuisine. A dash of Emeril’s zesty essence adds delicious character to this Greek favorite. Recipe takes 2 hours and 50 minutes to complete and yields 4-6 servings.
- 2 pounds lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch strips
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ¼ cup grated onion
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
- Pita bread rounds
- Tzatziki, recipe follows
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled, sliced in half and seeded, and finely chopped
- ⅛ teaspoon plus ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh dill or oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):
- 2 ½ tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
Directions: Place the meat in a non-reactive bowl. Mix together the lemon juice, oil, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon oregano, garlic, and grated onion, and pour over the meat. Cover and chill at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Thread the meat onto metal or bamboo skewers.
Heat the oil on a griddle or in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onions, remaining teaspoon oregano and Essence to the griddle and cook light brown, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the pan.
Preheat a grill. Grill the skewers, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides. Remove from the grill. Quickly heat the pita bread on the grill until just warmed through and pliant. Holding a pita in the left hand, and the skewer in the right hand, pull the contents from the skewer into the pita bread. Repeat with the remaining skewers. Divide the cooked onions among the pita, and top with tzatziki (cucumber sauce). Serve immediately.
Tzatziki: Put the cucumber in a strainer set over a bowl. Sprinkle with ⅛ teaspoon salt and drain for 1 hour. Put the yogurt in another strainer set over a bowl and drain for 1 hour. Combine the cucumber and yogurt in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and stir well. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning): Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Recommended wine pairings: Salty, creamy, and zesty, this dish is best offset by a food-friendly red wine with berry flavors—Pinot Noir, anyone? Try a 2012 Ombré Pinot Noir, which has glossy fruit flavors that end with a pop.