We spent the first few weeks of May wearing out cobblestones in Europe, partly in Northern Italy in the Lombardy region, Bellagio on Lake Como, or Lago di Como. It is situated at the north most cape of the peninsula with the Alps at the north end of the lake. It’s breathtaking!
The thing I love most about Italy is the style of living. Somehow, it just seems right. Drinking good strong cappuccino in the morning with a cornetto, italian sweet bread, eating a long lunch outdoors at a cafe and really savoring good fresh food, drinking wine and having dinner late, and being in a place that is so incredibly beautiful that each time you turn a corner you are in awe. For me, the beauty of Italy, its’ uniqueness, its’ culture is most readily found in the simple daily pleasures of life.
My grandfather and family were from Montoggio and Acquafredda, small mountainous villages just north of Genoa. Needless to say, it has always been a dream of mine to visit Italy. The deep blue water was placid and the sky hazy during our stay. We set out on foot to explore and found cobbled steps up the hills with quaint shops and restaurants. The rugged rocky mountains were partially covered with lush green vegetation, wildflowers growing out of the deep crevices, with the base reaching into the lake. The warm Tuscan yellow stuccoed villas with terracotta clay tiled roofs were a beautiful contrast to the rustic terrain.
Their cooking is simple and honest and I came home eager to cook the Mediterranean flavors we had experienced. This Grilled Lamb Kabob recipe is very basic and is perfect when paired with grilled vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, red onions, and peppers. Buon Appetito!
Grilled Lamb Kabobs
1 pound lamb cut from the leg, shoulder, or loin;
trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into quarters
3 zucchini, ends removed and sliced thinly lengthwise
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup English cucumber, peeled and very finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely grated
juice of half a lemon
1 lemon, quartered into wedges
generous handful of fresh mint
4 whole wheat pitas or flatbread
Light grill and bring to a medium-hot temperature. To prepare the bamboo skewers, place 12 skewers in water to cover so that they do not burn when cooking.
Meanwhile, trim and cut lamb in 1 inch cubes. Peel and quarter the onion, separating all of the layers to skewer. In a medium bowl, toss the lamb and onions with 2-3 T of good olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Remove ends and slice zucchini in moderately thin slices going lengthwise.
Peel and very finely chop the cucumber, finely grate the garlic, and juice half a lemon. In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Cut a second lemon into wedges for serving.
Thread the lamb and onion onto the skewers. Place the kabobs on the grill for about 4 minutes on each side or 8 minutes total for medium rare or grill until done to your liking. Meanwhile, brush the zucchini with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place on the grill. When the lamb is almost done, brush the flatbread with olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt and place on grill, flipping when toasted to your liking. When the lamb is done, remove from grill and cover to rest for a few minutes.
Place the Lamb, onions, and zucchini on a serving platter. Serve with yogurt, mint, flat bread, and lemon wedges. Serve immediately.