Super-Quick And Hellenic: What More Could You Want?

Once a month I get all motivated to try new recipes — the day the new “Food & Wine” issue arrives in the mail. This month I was stopped in my tracks while flipping through the pages thanks to a feature of “Fast Recipes” that claimed to reimagine classic Greek dishes. Having never eaten Greek food (I have no idea how it’s eluded me this long), it’s not like I was all a-quiver with the thought of whipping up my old exotic faves; no, they just had a really scrumptious-looking picture accompanying the recipe for Pork Souvlaki with Tzatziki. I had no idea what Souvlaki is (I’ve since looked it up. This seems to be a skewerless version of it), but it said it would take me 40 minutes, had an easy list of ingredients, and looked perfect for a weeknight meal. Here’s the recipe:

1 1/4 pounds trimmed pork shoulder, cut into 3-by-1/2 inch strips
1 large onion, cut through the root end into 1/2-inch strips
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Greek-style whole-milk yogurt
1/2 European cucumber, seeded and finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Warm pita, for serving

(The only change I made to the recipe is that I used pork tenderloin rather than shoulder, because it seems leaner and easier to deal with. But I’m normally a big fan of pork shoulder, so I’m not sure why I opted for that. I guess I’m just lazy.)

1. In a medium bowl, toss the pork strips and onion wedges with the olive oil, lemon juice, chopped oregano and half of the garlic paste. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and let stand for 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the yogurt, cucumber, mint and the remaining garlic paste. Season the tzatziki with salt and pepper.

3. Heat a large cast-iron griddle or grill pan (or, in my case, just a large skillet) until very hot. Add the pork and onion wedges along with any marinade and cook over high heat, turning once or twice, until the pork and onion are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pork and onion to plates and serve with the tzatziki, lemon wedges and pita.

Presto! Easy and delicious!

February 10 2009

This was super-duper fun to make, not least because it made the kitchen smell absolutely heavenly. Through a strange confluence of events, I ended up prepping everything before Pookie got home from work, and Boomer got home even later. Now, it should be noted that Spring Fever is creeping up on the denizens of Maple Hoo, and a kitchen redolent of fresh mint and oregano, lemon, cucumber, garlic and onions… well, it was enough to drive us all into progressive tizzies. I was in the thrall of the spring-fresh aromas, then Pookie walked into the kitchen and nearly swooned, then Boomer got home and exclaimed about how fantastic the place smelled. This meal was like a big plate of scrumptious freshness. I’d spent all day at work getting increasingly excited about trying a new recipe, and the whole experience of this didn’t let me down. Everyone should try it!

And perhaps the best part of all, by the way, was that I had extra mint, and there’s only one thing to do with that: make mojitos. (In a tall glass muddle 1 tablespoon of sugar, the juice of one lime, and 6-8 whole mint leaves. When the sugar has dissolved, fill the glass with ice, pour in 2 oz. of light rum, and then top off with chilled club soda. Stir and drink. Repeat the process from the beginning.) It was really the only civilized thing to do.

(Posted by Schnookie)


Filed under Hearty Meals, Meats Meats Meats

18 responses to “Super-Quick And Hellenic: What More Could You Want?

  1. Amy

    That pork looks really good. That recipe might have to go into my “try this at some point” file.

  2. hg


  3. Schnookie

    Amy, you totally should file this one away — you’ll thank yourself for it later! :D

    hg, NO I HAVE NOT!!!! I don’t know why. Honestly. It’s just… not something that’s presented itself to me in the orbits of my life. I realize there’s a gaping hole in my culinary life, but what can I do? :D

  4. hg

    Huh. Well. I love it. My most favourite restaurant for Greek and atmosphere and food and everything wonderful is in North Vancouver and it’s called Pasparos. I have not eaten there for over 4 or so years and my mouth is watering at the thought of their grilled calamari and all the wonderful dips with pita and olives and oh… *wipes keyboard* So yes, go to North Van now! Or at least look at the picture gallery.

  5. hg

    PS. Especially the second page with the plants and tables! Oh so lovely! My favourite table was by the window.

  6. Schnookie

    Hm. Perhaps we DO need to plan a trip to North Vancouver… That place looks charming AND delicious!

  7. Uh, weird. My flicker pals in New Jersey have comments about Pasperos on the North Shore on their website. That place is excellent – it’s been ages since I’ve been there, but they do it up right!

    Those are all the ingredients tzatziki? Why did I think it was going to be all complicated?

  8. Schnookie

    Carol, we’re in tight with all the cool kids in Vancouver now! :D

    And can you believe tzatziki can be that easy? Little effort, big reward!

  9. hg

    Carol, I used to live on the North Shore but I am in Ottawa now. The thought of Pasparos makes my mouth water to this day and it’s been around 5 years since I’ve eaten there. You should go this weekend and eat and take pictures and document it all for me! hee hee

  10. oh man this looks and sounds so tasty. Greek food is one of my favorite things (my very favorite restaurant EVER is called Evelyn’s in New Brunswick, and they seriously have the best hummus I’ve ever eaten. I haven’t been there in over a year..) so I’m almost tempted to broach my fear of cooking meat to try this. Maybe.

  11. HG – I totally should! I think I’ll make some dinner plans in the near future at Pasperos – in your guys-es honour.

    You like that? Guys-es. It’s plural for you guys. I made it up.

  12. This looked so good and then I got to the yogurt and I was out. I’m terrified of yogurt; I’d rather eat a beet anyday.

    (That being said, I’m sure it’s delicious unless you’re a yogurtphobic freak like me!) I’m glad y’all enjoyed it…heh.

    And I’m way late but I wanted to say cheers to Pookie on the marvel of getting over some of her food fears/dislikes!

  13. omg….Greek food!! I have to try this recipe. There’s this Greek restaurant that FI and I absolutely love and we always get the same thing: gyro plate for him and gyro sandwich for me. The meat is flavored so deliciously and the tzatziki sauce is fantastic.

  14. Schnookie

    elizabeth, I’m sorry I’ve never been to Evelyn’s! We’re probably not too far from New Brunswick to try it… And yeah, this dish, especially if you use pork tenderloin, is very meat-easy! :D

    Carol, “guys-es” is perhaps the best new word I’ve seen in recent memory. You’re a wordsmith!

    Caitlin, don’t be afraid of the yogurt! It’s not like eating yogurt out of a container — it gets mixed up with stuff! In a bowl! It becomes a sauce! :P

    And kms2, the more I’m hearing from everyone here, the more I’m thinking we need to find a good Greek restaurant of our own. Perhaps this Evelyn’s of which elizabeth speaks… :D

  15. I’m making this recipe tonight!!! I’m so excited to cook!

  16. Schnookie

    How did it turn out, kms2? Was it delish? Or an abject failure? My interwebs have been out here, and I’ve only just now seen that I should be on tenterhooks!!!

  17. It was super delish! I’m making it again tonight :)

  18. Schnookie

    WOO HOO! I’m SO glad you liked it! (And that you commented on it again tonight — I haven’t made it a second time yet, and now you’ve reminded me of it. It’s going right on my menu plan for this coming week. :D)

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