FOOD FOR WINE: Gyro-Style White Sauce with Marjoram-Flecked Lamb Chops

FOOD FOR WINE: Gyro-Style White Sauce with Marjoram-Flecked Lamb Chops 480 640 David Rosengarten

“Gyro-Style” White Sauce with Marjoram-Flecked Lamb Chops, Shepherd’s Salad, and Pitalamb-gyro-style

The white sauce is the thing! Whenever I’m in Greece and lining up for a gyro—that marvelous vertical meat loaf made from chicken, or pork, or lamb—I’m licking my lips over the white sauce to come! Yogurt-based, it usually has both an acidic kick and a touch of sweetness. A creamy splash of it over the meat and raw vegetables bundled in a pita makes the dish. Recipes? Unfortunately, this sauce is the ultimate street food, and recipes are not readily available.

So I’ve made up my own!

To make this great flavor combo easy for home chefs, I’ve skipped the gyro part, and targeted a pile of grilled or sautéed lamb chops anchored by griddled pita. A slew of diced raw vegetables makes things pretty—all crowned by a sublime white sauce that includes several types of dairy to up the complexity factor.

You’ll feel like breaking your plate after this delicious pairing of food and wine!
serves 4 as a main course

12 rib lamb chops
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tbsps Greek yogurt
4 tbsps sour cream
4 tbsps buttermilk
¾ tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
1 cup diced vegetables (a combination of tomatoes, cucumber, green bell pepper and white onions)
4 pitas
olive oil

1 Toss the lamb chops with the marjoram and cinnamon. Let rest.

2. Prepare the white sauce. In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, sugar, salt and garlic powder. Hold in refrigerator.

3. Place a ridged grill pan over the highest heat on your cooktop. Brush the pitas with a little olive oil, and warm on the griddle on both sides. Hold.

4. Slick the lamb chops with a little olive oil, then sprinkle well with salt. Grill the chops until medium-rare, about 3 minutes on each side.


5. Assembly: Place the pitas on four separate dinner plates. Top each with three lamb chops. Divide the white sauce among the four plates, drizzling over the chops and pitas. Top all with the chopped vegetables, dividing them among the four plates. Serve immediately.


And the wine…

2014 Basile Artéteca, Vermentino Toscana IGT ($14-18)

Because of the white sauce, and the salad that it accompanies, a perfect wine to drink with these lamb chops is white! Red wine, though often yummy with chops, gets tripped up by the slightly sweet sauce, and the slightly acidic vegetables. To the rescue: a white wine with good body to stand up to the rich lamb, good acid to meet the salad, and a touch of sweetness to harmonize with the sauce. Wines from this grape, Vermentino, are made in Liguria and Sardinia as well..but the Basile Tuscan version coaxes more than usual out of the grape by blending it with Viognier (10%) and Petit Manseng (5%). Medium-straw in the glass, with intriguing minerals and flowers on the nose. Off-dry, which nicks perfectly with the bright acidity…and the “off-dry” sauce! For a description of Basile, and the Montecucco region, see yesterday’s post on this site (Wednesday, March 30).

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