Sometimes the best blog post is no post at all. I wanted to get this post up last week, had it all written (in my head), the photos had all been taken and sent to my email, the recipe had been made and eaten. The only thing stopping me from posting it was, well, I just wasn’t happy with it. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t GOOD. The problem was the tzatziki was too runny and the garlic and cucumber over powered the dish completely, not to mention the ratios were way off. The tzatziki made close to a 1/2 a gallon for 6 gyros. So as much as I wanted to post the recipe I decided to spend a little more time with it.
What to expect:
The flavor of the steak plays well with the freshness of the tzatziki while the pickled onion gives a slight hit of acidity. The tzatziki will be a creamy sauce with a little texture, the freshness of the flavors of the cucumber and olive oil will balance out nicely while the garlic plays gently in the background, just enough to make it interesting.
Yeild: 6 or so gyros.
What you’ll need:
2 hours time (less if you work efficiently and multi task).
1 recipe steak marinade:
1 1/2 lbs very thinly sliced steak. (The same that you would use for fajitas or Philly beef steaks. This can be found in most Mexican markets, some butchers will have it also.)
1 12 ounce beer
1/2 cup canola oil
1 small onion finely chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tzatziki recipe:
1 1/2 cups plain lowfat Greek yogurt
1 lb Persian or English cucumbers, peeled and seeded
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh chopped mint or dill
1 clove garlic, crushed to a paste (or more to taste)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
1/4 tsp salt
6 pocketless pitas (small pre-made pizza crusts will do in a pinch)
Pickled red onion
Sliced black olives
2-3 roma tomatoes
4 oz of feta cheese
Let’s do this.
Begin by making your steak marinade. Combine all the ingredients, whisk together, place steak in marinade and set aside in the refrigerator.
Pickle the onions:
Slice a red onion as thin as you can, place in 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar. (It will be ready when everything else is ready.)
Make the tzatziki:
Place 1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt in a bowl.
Peel, seed, and shred the cucumber. After shredding, wrap cucumber in several layers of paper towels and squeeze as much of the moisture out as possible, repeat twice.
Once the cucumber is as dry as you can get it, add it to the yogurt, along with the 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp fresh chopped dill, 1 clove garlic, crushed to a paste, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, and the 1/4 tsp salt.
Mix well by hand.
If not using right away, place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the sauce and set aside in the refrigerator to let the flavors meld until ready to use.
Grill the meat and bread:
Set grill up for DIRECT grilling.
Oil the grates well, and place beef on the grill. Cooking until done, about 3-5 minutes per side.
Once steak is done cut across the grain into 1/2 – 1 inch wide strips.
Lightly toast the pita bread on the grill.
Now assemble with the meat, tzatziki sauce, black olives, pickled onions, feta cheese, and good friends. Note: a little pickled onion goes along ways, it only takes a very few, too many and you’ll ruin your gyro and make the same funny faces a 3 year old does in the mirror.
The tzatziki will make more than you will probably use, so grab a bag of pita chips and pass it around as dip. The best I can figure is that tzatziki is the Greeks equal to the Mexicans guacamole. It’s great on everything and has multiple uses.