Friday, May 13, 2016

easy steak gyros + homemade pita

I saw a hilarious Arby's commercial where the company was promoting their new gyros, and the narrator pronounces gryos six different ways (euro, jiro, guyro) before giving up, calling them Mediterranean tacos! So, I thought I'd share with you my own Mediterranean tacos that, are not only cheaper and healthier (check out this wonderfully-detailed article about the benefits of eating steak) than Arby's, but are ten-times tastier. As summer peaks around the corner, you're going to want this recipe in your arsenal for those sunny beach day picnics. I'll show you how to make everything you see in the picture: the pita, the steak, and the tzatziki. Let's get started!


for the Pita Bread
1 cup of lukewarm water
2 teaspoons (or one packet) of dry-active yeast
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 1/2 cups of flour, divided (2 cups + 1/2 cup)
2 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil

for the Rosemary Butter Roasted Steak
1 inch and a half thick ribeye 
salt to season
pepper to season
1 sprig of rosemary
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

for the Tzatziki
1 cup of greek yogurt (I used regular yogurt, which is why mine is slightly thinner)
3 Persian cucumbers or 1 English cucumber (all jokes aside), grated
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
the zest of a lemon, just the yellow bit
1 tablespoon of lemon juice, about 1/4 of the lemon
salt to taste
tons of freshly cracked black pepper, this is an important flavor component of tzatziki

1. The pita could not be any simpler. In fact, I don't think I've come across a simpler, quicker, or healthier bread. Start by mixing the yeast and sugar with the tepid water. I suggest pouring the water into the bowl first, so that you can make sure the temperature isn't too hot or too cold. The water should be slightly warm if you put your hand in it (which means slightly above body temperature). Whisk the mixture, and let it sit for 5 minutes. In the meantime, whisk 2 cups of the flour and the salt in a separate bowl. Add the yeast and water mixture to the flour along with the olive oil, and mix until a dough begins to form. Sprinkle more flour onto the counter top and begin to knead, adding flour as you go until the texture of the dough becomes smooth, slightly tacky, and elastic. Let the dough rest covered for 20 minutes. 

2. Preheat the oven to 500F with a baking stone (if you don't have a baking stone, turn a cookie sheet upside down) on the center rack. After your dough has rested, the texture should be super elastic and smooth. Cut the dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece out to about 4-5 inches in diameter. The shape doesn't really matter, unless you're a food blogger. Place the flattened pita onto a floured transferring board and slide onto the baking stone. The pita will puff up and get brown. They should be done after just 6 minutes; you'll know they're done when the tops are golden brown all the way across. You can keep the pitas in foil until serving, or you can do the pitas the day before and reheat them in the oven. 

3. Now, onto the steak! The cut you choose can really be any cut, but I like me a good rib-eye. The combination of fat, meat, and grain on a good quality rib-eye not only makes for an extremely flavorful cut but a tender and affordable one. You can grill it or pan sear it directly from the supermarket package, but I like to cook my steaks using a fancy technique we in the food blogging industry call sous-vide. Ooohh. It's really not that fancy. Here's how I do it. In a Ziploc freezer bag, I put the rib-eye, some olive oil, a bay leaf, a sprig of rosemary, and some cracked black pepper and take out as much of the air as I can. I clip the bag to the side of a pot filled with 135F water, making sure the entire steak is submerged. Sometimes I have to put a plate on top of the steak, so it doesn't float. I cover the pot and let it sit there for 1 hour, checking every fifteen minutes for temperature. In theory, the inside of the meat should be cooked to a temperature of 135F (a perfect medium rare) after sitting in 135F water for an hour. After the souvide, I dry the steak (there will be some meat juice), add olive oil directly to the meat, salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and sear with butter and rosemary, basting the steak with the rosemary-scented butter, until both sides are golden and crispy. The final searing is completely stress-free because I already know the inside is perfectly cooked. All I need to focus on is a good golden sear. Sous-vide ensures perfect steak every time. Like I said, though, you can cook your steak anyway you like to. If the result is the same, me is happy. Like all meats, let the steak rest for 10 minutes before you slice it. 

4. While your steak is resting, make the final component of your steak gyros, the tzatziki. However way you pronounce it, tzatziki is one of the oldest, healthiest, tastiest sauces in the world. Many Middle Eastern and European cuisines have a variation of this cucumber and yogurt dip, but this is my take on it. It doesn't get simpler. Wash and peel the cucumbers, onion, and garlic. With a simple box grater, grate all three of them using the finest setting. In the same bowl, add the yogurt (some people use yogurt + sour cream for a richer, creamier sauce), the lemon zest and juice, and season with salt and pepper. One of the most important flavor components of tzaziki is freshly cracked black pepper. Don't be afraid of putting a lot of cracked black pepper into the sauce. As a starting point, I would put 1 tablespoon. You can also add fresh mint or dill if you're feeling fancy. Refrigerate until serving. 

5. Now the assembly. The pictures really make this paragraph moot, but for the small faction of y'all who actually read the blog, here's what you'll need: shredded cabbage (I have napa), thinly sliced onions (thinly or else they'll overpower...everything), thinly sliced jalepeños (thinly or else it'll be too spicy), and some sliced avocado. Really, you can put whatever you want on your gyros. My mom likes to put shaved carrots, radishes, and sliced almonds. To assemble, start with a little tzatziki, the meat (sliced against the grain, however thick you want it), the avocado, napa, onion, and then jalepeño. I always serve my Mediterranean steak tacos with extra tzatziki for dipping. 

The combination between chewy homemade pita, buttery melt-in-your mouth steak, creamy lemony tzatziki, and crunchy accouterments is unlike any gyro or taco I'm sure you've ever had. I can only suggest you give it try yourself. And, keep in mind that if you don't feel up to making all of these components, you can always do some semi-home cooking as my pal Sandra Lee always espoused. I hope all of you give this a try. Please comment below what you like to put on your Mediterranean tacos and don't forget to share this post with your friends and family. And as always, 


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