Mediterranean Meatball Pita Sandwiches

The type of cuisine I do, especially after being on ‘Iron Chef’ for several years, is a lot of global cuisine. My strength has always been Mediterranean cuisine across the board from Morocco, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, but I think now I’m doing a lot of very different cuisines all the time. Cat Cora

greek-with-beansIn an effort to keep things fresh and easy so that I can enjoy some time out in the spring air and specifically get into lighter cooking after a short winter I consistently head to the mediterranean cooking style that has always been the basis of my cooking and what a beautiful day for an easy Mediterranean style dinner on the porch.  The best things to offer are just a veggie bin away, buy vegetables and find new ways to cook them, fruit, the same thing and yes you can eat potatoes and plenty of grains…think about how much you are eating season your food and just try small servings of unfamiliar dishes to begin with.

A simple salad with classic mediterranean ingredients, beans, feta cheese, tomatoes olives, fresh fennel and fresh herbs all gently tossed together with drizzles of a very good olive oil, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar.  Of course you can make a favorite vinaigrette, but I am quite comfortable with my non measuring in most salads as I toss, taste, season with salt and pepper as I go…

Easy small meatballs to stuff into pita pockets dressed with red onion and minted cucumber tzatziki, again basic herbs and spices, fresh and dried makes a nice combination.  I made enough to stash for other dinners and you can change it up a bit by adding the meatballs to soup of all things!  Greek meatballs and orzo soup…

Start with 1 pound of ground beef or a combination of beef and lamb or I can imagine that chicken and pork will work as well, gently crumble meat and begin adding in your spices and herbs.  I like the combination of fresh and dried herbs, but you can use all fresh or all dried or even a blend of Italian or Greek seasoning, there are no hard and fast rules…

Add all of the herbs to the beef and gently toss:
2 sprigs fresh oregano leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
a 1 inch piece of fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic, finely minced
1/4 -1/2 cup red onion, minced
a pinch of cayenne pepper or ground red pepper flakes
*optional, I love a little grated lemon zest

Drizzle in the EVOO, add the egg, vinegar and tear up the soaked bread, blend into beef, shape into small meatballs (I use a small scoop to make 1+1/2 inch meatballs

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3-4 tablespoons EVOO
1 beaten egg
2 slices of rustic bread soaked in about 1/2 cup milk

To saute /fry meatballs:
1/4 cup or more if necessary, sifted flour for lightly dusting meatballs…heat oil, add meatballs and sauté until done, time for me was about 10 minutes turning to brown for 10 meatballs.  Drain on rack over sheet pan or plate.pan

To assemble sandwiches, cut warm pita bread in half-open pocket and put meatballs inside garnish with red onion, tomatoes and minty tzatziki sauce…