Need I tell you, we didn’t have lamb for Easter. Instead we had one of our glorious whole, bone-in hams, with a side of Kielbasa. As much as we enjoyed our feast, I had lamb on my mind when we came back to the city. A couple of weeks ago, I’d found a recipe for Lamb Pizza. Pizza, I need not tell you, has pretty well taken over the world. And apparently Turkey is no exception. This particular pizza is the work of a woman named Semsa Denizsel who owns a take-out food shop and restaurant in Istanbul called Kantin. Chef Denizsel is no stranger to Food and Wine Magazine, which is where I encountered her recipe. She’s provided them with four of her recipes so far. I am sure there are more coming as Ms. Denizsel is acquiring a reputation as an authority on Turkish Cuisine. Kantin is located in Istanbul’s poshest neighborhood. Now 13 years old, the focus of the food there is simple, honest and homemade. The Chef is a complete locavore and a seasonal cook. So even when something like eggplant floods the markets of Istanbul, if it isn’t locally grown or in season you won’t find it at Kantin. What you will find is inventive cooking like these lamb pizzas spiced with red pepper and sweetened with sun-dried tomatoes. Topped with an egg and baked in a hot oven, they’re elevate a simple week night supper into an adventure.
|Note the crust on|
Chef Denizsel's Version
|Chef Semsa Denizsel|
4 Whole Wheat Pitas*
* To make it easy to slice the Pitas in half, first microwave them for 30 seconds. They will puff up and be easier to divide into halves. Use the half that has ‘sides’. That will keep the lamb filling in place. Reserve the others – toasted, they make marvelous crisps for hummus or any other cocktail spread
For the topping:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pound ground lamb or beef
1 garlic clove, minced
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon Turkish red pepper paste (Biber Salcasi)
or 2 jarred hot cherry peppers, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 large eggs (optional)
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
In a skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until translucent, 4 minutes. Add the lamb and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the lamb is no longer pink, 3 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper paste and cumin and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 450°. Arrange oven racks on the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Preheat a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven for about 5 minutes.
Spread the lamb topping over the pita halves, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges; Crack an egg in the center of each pizza (if using) and bake on the top shelf of the oven for about 7 minutes, until the crust is crisp on the bottom, the egg white is firm and the yolk is runny. Scatter the parsley over the pizzas and serve hot.