Cacik is a seasoned dish of diluted yogurt that is very popular in the countries that made up the Ottoman Empire. The name translates to "everything green."
2 Tbs. aleppo chiles (and some additional to use as a garnish)
2 Tbs. red pepper paste
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup canola oil
1 Tbs. baharat spice mix
2 Tbs. garlic, chopped
1 lamb top (about 2 lb.), portioned into 4 pieces
2 cups thick Greek yogurt
1/4 cup Greek olive oil (plus 3 Tbs. for dipping)
1 Tbs. salt
1 Tbs. dried Turkish mint
1 Armenian cucumber, small diced
1/4 zucchini, small diced
A few green beans, small diced
1 oz. cabbage, finely shredded
1 oz. Tuscan black kale, finely shredded
2 leaves torn fresh basil
2 leaves torn fresh mint
Aleppo chilies (enough to garnish with a sprinkle)
Grilled pita bread
Whisk together the aleppo chiles, red pepper paste, tomato paste, canola oil, baharat spice mix, and 1 tablespoon chopped garlic. Toss lamb with a liberal amount of sauce and let marinate for at least 3 hours (can be done up to 24 hours in advance).
For medium-rare lamb, cook 8-10 minutes on a cooler part of the grill, until there is a golden-brown color to the meat. (Because of the spices, red pepper paste, and sugar in the paste, too much heat will cause the meat to char and burn.) Flip halfway through, once one side has lightly caramelized.
Slice lamb against the grain into thin strips.
Combine the olive oil and yogurt in a large bowl and whisk together. Add the remaining garlic, salt, and dried mint and continue to whisk.
Prepare the vegetables. Chop cucumbers into small pieces and set aside. Lightly sauté zucchini and green beans in olive oil. Julienne cabbage and lightly sauté, so it is practically raw. Sauté kale in olive oil (or blanch), and chop finely.
Add prepared vegetables to the yogurt mixture. Rip the fresh herbs into medium-sized chunks and add. Mix well.
Place the mixture in a medium bowl. Make a small divot in the middle and pour in desired amount of olive oil. Sprinkle Aleppo chilies around edges. (If you don’t like your food spicy, omit the chilies.)
Cover a large plate or tray with pita bread. Spread cacik onto pita bread and top with lamb strips.
Serves: 4 to 6
Cassie Kyriakides Piuma is the chef de cuisine at Oleana, a restaurant in Cambridge inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean. She shared this recipe with us when she was featured as our guest on Neighborhood Kitchens.
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