When you’re cooking with skewers it’s important to remember that steel versions conduct heat better, and therefore cook meat faster (depending on the dish). If, like me, you prefer using rosemary branches, lemongrass or wooden sticks for skewering, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes. Otherwise, they’ll flame up and burn on the grill.
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If you’re working with flat pieces of meat or shrimp, remember to spear them twice before grilling as they tend to flop around if they’re not secured.
Souvlaki means skewered meats in Greek. Simple to cook, souvlaki can be made with pork, lamb, chicken or veal, and is often served with tzatziki sauce and a tomato-and-onion salad. For the best tzatziki, use Greek yogurt. If you use the base of a lemongrass stalk for a skewer, or a thick branch of rosemary, the meat will absorb the flavour.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp chopped garlic
11/2 lbs pork tenderloin, cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup grated cucumber, liquid squeezed out
2 tbsp chopped green onion
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped coriander
1/2 tsp chopped garlic
Combine olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and garlic in a bowl. Add pork and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide pork between four wooden skewers or eight rosemary or lemongrass spears and set aside.
For tzatziki, combine yogurt, cucumber, green onion, vinegar, olive oil, coriander and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Preheat grill to high. Brush skewers with a little oil. Grill skewers for two to three minutes each side (eight to 12 minutes total) or until pork is cooked with just a tinge of pink. Serve with warm pita breads, tzatziki and tomato-and-onion salad.
Suggested Wine Pairings
Try a spicy red from Greece based on the agiorgitiko grape, such as this light, crisp and surprisingly tasty bargain: Apelia agiorgitiko (at $9.95 a litre in Ontario). –Beppi Crosariol