gyro quest

Since moving to Sebastopol I have searched for good greek food. Greek food isn’t something people usually associate with the Clear Lake area, but there are easily 4 or 5 fairly decent greek places with in a 5-15 minute drive of my parents, and it’s something I’ve learned to enjoy.

I already make a fairly good pastatsio (greek lasagna), but I have been longing for a good gyro.

If I was in Vienna it would be a simple task, go to the Nashmarkt to my favorite little stand: the slowly rotating marinated lamb/beef on the skewer by the heat lamp, the little turkish men (they are short and from Istanbul – we asked once) loudly announcing they have not only the best kebab, but the best price. The wonderful spicy meat, the tangy sauces, the drippy mess as I try to eat and walk.

If I was in Houston, I would go to one of several restaurants and it would arrive fresh and hot, with a mountain of fries and a large drink with free refills. Yummy!

Neither of these seems to exist in Sebastopol, so I have taken the matter into my own hands:

This evening for dinner I made gyros. It was a little different (but not in a bad way), there was no lamb carved off a rotisserie (used ground beef patties) and I wrapped them in burritos (couldn’t find 8-inch pocketless pita bread and didn’t feel like making an epic quest to 3 grocery stores).

I used the gyro recipe from Cooks Illustrated #87 (8/07). The flavoring was exact, tangy, rich and flavorful. The tzatziki was fabulous and the seasonings were just right. So the kitchen smelled like garlic most of the afternoon, a small price to pay for the cool rich thick sauce.

The directions sounded a little odd, food process the onions, oregano, lemon and pita together to form a paste, then mix well with the lamb (or beef). It made sense the moment I bit into the gyro, the little patties were infused with flavor.

The cool yogurt cucumber dill of the tzatziki contrasted so nicely with the hot beef onion and oregano. Gavin’s only real complaint was I didn’t use pita bread, and gyros are “better for lunch” than for dinner. I have to agree on both counts.


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