17.7.11

greek lamb with grilled tomato and halloumi cheese

I wake up from my nap, and I'm in Greece.
What a strange feeling.
After 6 months in Israel, Lisa came to meet me and after a couple weeks of travel,
we flew to Kos. The plan is to hop around some of the Dodecanese islands for 10 days
or so, and then fly back to Montpellier. We spent last night at the Ben Gurion 
airport in Tel Aviv and arrived in Kos bedraggled, struggly messes.
It's also raining. Didn't expect that. 
It took us at least an hour to find our hostel. Once arrived, we immediately
collapsed onto our beds and, now, a few hours later,
we're awake and ready to explore Kos.
The air is damp and cool from the rain and it gives Kos Town a
 raw, clean beauty.
Still, I hope the sun shines brighter tomorrow.
 We wander a bit, following our noses until we find a little restaurant
on some random side street. I order lamb, Lisa has moussaka and we
split a plate of dolmades in an egg lemon sauce.
We order tap water but the waiter says we'd better not, 
and gives us bottled water on the house.
The lamb comes with fries, creamy tzakiki and rice.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never tasted lamb like this.
It's...sweet. But savory. Tender and nuanced with flavor.
I am positively bowled over.
So is Lisa:
Now THAT is a happy face.
Yeah. I like Greece.

Greek lamb with tomatoes, cheese and tzaziki
Halloumi cheese is hard to find, and a bit expensive, but it
is entirely worth it. It's a cheese from Cyprus that has a uniquely
firm texture, which lends it to grilling, frying, baking, etc. I also love
the flavor- salty,  but not as strong as feta. I suppose
you could use mozzarella, but it just wouldn't be the same!

Ingredients
For the lamb:
4 lamb shoulder blade chops
2 fat cloves of garlic
1/2 lemon
Olive oil
A handful of fresh oregano, chopped
A sprig of rosemary, stripped
A bit of salt and pepper, to taste.

For the cheese and tomatoes:
1 ripe tomato, sliced thickly
1 block of halloumi cheese, sliced thickly
Olive oil
Fresh oregano to garnish

For the tzaziki:
1 cup Greek yogourt
A handful of dill, chopped
One smallish cucumber, chopped 
Fresh mint, optional 

Preparation
First, deal with the lamb. Combine all ingredients in a large container and rub all over the chops with your hands. If there are any little openings, be sure to get some garlic in there! Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

On a big piece of aluminum foil, arrange your cheese and tomato slices. Drizzle over some nice olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh oregano. 
 Then, make a parcel with the edges of the foil. It should look a bit like a longish tent.

Fire up your grill! I would add the cheese and tomato parcel first. Cook the lamb chops about 4 minutes on each side, or however you like it. 

While everything is grilling, combine your tzaziki ingredients. It's really about taste, so take a nibble and see if you want more dill, or some salt.
Such an easy meal and it's so pleasing. Be sure to serve with lots of lemon wedges.

I used to eat lamb shoulder steak ALL THE TIME in college because it was so cheap and delicious! This was when I was dreaming of/planning to go to France and I always made them in my little apartment kitchen with walnut oil, rosemary and garlic. 
And for some reason, I always tend to eat this with zucchini.
Καλή όρεξη! 

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