Jun 17

Two Takes on Eastern Mediterranean Classics

Eastern Mediterranean flavors have never been more popular. Geographically, we’re talking about the area known as the Levant, encompassing Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon and Syria, and more. It’s a region of the world and a cuisine that loves lamb, and we’ve put together a set of #aussome Eastern Med dishes for your inspo.  

First cab(s) off the rank are two takes on Manti (pron. MON-tee), a lamb-stuffed, boat-shaped pasta found in Armenia and Turkey. In Armenia they are prized when made as small as possible. That’s why the manti at Dalida in San Francisco are so tiny! According to Chef Laura Ozyilmaz, the saying in Armenia is that you should be able to fit 21 in a spoon! The team at Dalida has to make a LOT of these popular pastas, which are pan roasted in butter, so all that surface area gets the benefit of browning and caramelization, balanced perfectly by an urfa biber -tomato sauce, a dollop of garlic labneh and a finishing drizzle of brown butter.  


Another manti with a twist is from Chef Cassie Piuma of Sarma in Boston. Chef doubles down on the spices and the lamb in her version. An underground hint of Szechuan peppercorn mixes with traditional urfa biber, baharat and Aleppo. A savory creamed corn is the sauce, and crispy braised lamb shoulder takes it over the top. Learn how to make it here

Also from Dalida are these Cypriot lamb chops, a technical masterwork upgrading a humble street food from Cyprus. Where the traditional version is a grilled lamb meatball held together by caul fat, Chefs Laura and Sayat start with a gorgeous Aussie lamb chop, wrapping the ground lamb and caul fat around it. Wow! 


Finally, one of our favorites from the legendary Chef Suzanne Goin of AOC in Los Angeles, her Za’atar lamb chops with charred eggplant, a cucumber and preserved lemon salad, and labneh. Gorgeous! Click here for the recipe!!

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