These simple grilled kebabs, served with a briny, assertive relish, will transport you to the Mediterranean. If you don't have fresh basil, substitute 1 teaspoon minced oregano. There's more than enough relish; leftovers stand up to grilled tuna.
- For the relish
- 1 1/2 cups pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
- 1 large lemon, grated zest and juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced basil
- 1/4 cup drained and rinsed capers
- For the kebabs
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced onion
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried mint
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 dozen onion, boiling or pearl
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Have ready 6 metal skewers, preferably flat. (If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes.)
For the relish: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to mix well. Set aside.
For the kebabs: Combine -- but do not overmix -- the lamb, garlic, minced onion, mint, salt, pepper and cumin. Cover and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes, then form into about-- oval patties about 1 inch wide and a couple of inches long.
Cut an X in the bottom of the onions for easier peeling. Add the onions to the water. Boil until nearly tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water and peel.
In the meantime, prepare the grill. If using a gas grill, preheat the grill to medium heat. If using a charcoal grill, start the charcoal or wood briquettes. When the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly under the cooking area for direct heat. Oil the grate. Place 2 or 3 of the lamb patties on each kebab, interspersing them with the onions. (If not grilling right away, place the kebabs on a lined baking sheet and refrigerate, covered.)
Grill for 8 to 10 minutes total, turning occasionally to brown all sides. Serve immediately, with relish on the side.
Adapted from "The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & Entertaining," by Cheryl and Bill Jamison (Morrow, 2006, $24.95). Serve with ratatouille.
Tested by Marcia Kramer.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.