GR US

Greek-Inspired Recipes for the Grilling Season

The National Herald

Burger topped with tzatziki. Photo by Louis Hansel, via Unsplash

As the grilling season continues, try the following recipes to add Greek flavor to any cookout or backyard barbecue.

Greek-Style Turkey Burgers

1 pound bunch fresh spinach, chopped

2 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

1 pound 93% lean ground turkey

1/2 cup crumbled feta, Dodonis

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon Greek dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon Greek sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4 small hamburger buns, split and toasted

4 tablespoons tzatziki, or more as needed (recipe below)

2 medium cucumbers, sliced

1 large red onion, cut into rings

Thoroughly wash the spinach and pat dry with paper towels or dry in a salad spinner. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium high heat. Add the spinach and sauté for about 5 minutes until cooked down. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Preheat grill to medium-high. Squeeze excess moisture from spinach. Combine the spinach with turkey, feta, crushed garlic, oregano, salt and pepper in a medium bowl; mix well. Form into four 4-inch patties. Oil the grill rack using a folded paper towel dipped in oil, hold it with tongs and rub over the rack. Grill the patties until cooked through and no longer pink in the center, about 6 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should read 165 degrees F. Assemble the burgers on the toasted buns, topping each with tzatziki, cucumber slices, and onions, or as preferred. The burger patties can be made ahead of time, wrapped individually with plastic wrap, and refrigerated up to 8 hours before grilling.

Salmon Souvlakia

The National Herald

Salmon with lemon slices. Photo by Melanie Andersen, via Unsplash

2 teaspoons Greek dried oregano

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon Greek sea salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 pounds skinless salmon fillet (preferably wild), cut into 1-inch cubes

2 lemons, very thinly sliced into rounds

2 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

16 bamboo skewers soaked in water for 15 minutes to 1 hour

Prepare grill for medium heat. Mix together the oregano, sesame seeds, cumin, salt, and red pepper flakes in a bowl; set aside. Beginning and ending with salmon, thread salmon and folded lemon slices onto 8 pairs of parallel skewers to make 8 salmon souvlakia total. Using pairs of skewers prevents the salmon from spinning around as it would on a single skewer. Brush with oil and season with reserved spice mixture. Grill, turning occasionally, until fish is opaque throughout, 5-8 minutes.

Greek Lamb Sliders

2 pounds ground lamb

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus leaves for garnish

4 tablespoons grated onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Greek dried oregano

1 teaspoon Greek sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

8 slider buns, split and toasted

5 ounces feta, crumbled, optional

Cucumber slices

Tzatziki (recipe follows)

In a large mixing bowl, mix the lamb, chopped mint, onion, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil. Form into sliders or mini burgers. Prepare your outdoor grill as needed. If using a gas grill, heat to medium high. Grill sliders, turning them after about 8 minutes and continue cooking until desired doneness. Place the cooked sliders on toasted buns, and serve with cucumber slices, feta, tzatziki, and mint leaves for garnish.

Tzatziki

The National Herald

Tzatziki. Photo by Mor Shani, via Unsplash

1 large seedless cucumber, grated coarsely

Greek sea salt

2 cups Greek yogurt

4-6 garlic cloves to taste, minced

3 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Place grated cucumber in a strainer over a bowl, sprinkle with a 1/4 teaspoon salt and let stand for 30 minutes to an hour to drain off the liquid. If preferred, place in cheesecloth and after an hour squeeze out any excess liquid. Place the cucumber in a mixing bowl with the yogurt, garlic, olive oil, lemon, and dill, and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, if needed. Cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before serving.