Coming to Greece from North America, one of the greatest surprises one encounters is the lack of lamb on the menu. From the stereotype, one might get the impression that it is available everywhere. Sure you can get grilled lamb chops at most restaurants but outside of Easter, lamb is not the king of meats here in Greece. Pork is. If you walk into any butcher shop pork is king. From the infamous “Brizola” to the humble and rustic “Loukaniko” pork eating has long been at the forefront in Greek cookery and in culture. And here in Greece, although you can get chicken, pork souvlaki is king. It is the pork of the people. So why would I say souvlaki is king even during an economic crisis?
Souvlaki is king for 3 reasons:
- It is cheap, about 1.70 – 2 euros per pita (pictured above).
- It is fast. If a souvlatzis (the guy who makes the souvlaki) is good he can put your pita together in less that 30 seconds! Makes visiting Mc-fastfood feel like an excursion.
- This is probably the most determining factor. It tastes really, really good.
What you need to make a reasonable Kalamaki pita at home:
- 1 skewer of pork
- 1 Greek style pita (Do not use a pocket pita)
- Olive oil to brush the pita with.
- 3-4 thick slices of ripe tomato
- 2-3 slices of sweet onion
- 1-2 tbsp tzatziki
- 5-6 french fries
- A sprinkle of sweet smoked paprika.
- Salt and oregano
- Squeeze of lemon.
- 8″ square piece of parchment or newspaper
How it’s done:
- Put the skewer of pork on the grill (charcoal is the best.) Squeeze the lemon juice and sprinkle it with salt and oregano while it is grilling.
- When it has finished grilling set it aside.
- Brush the pita with a little olive oil and heat it on the grill. Not so that it becomes crispy but until it is hot.
- Now to put it all together.
- As you are holding it, place the pita on the paper.
- Put the meat in the middle of the pita, and while holding it pull out the stick.
- Add the tzatziki onto the meat.
- Place the tomatoes on either side of the meat.
- Add your onions.
- Top it off with the fries and a sprinkle of paprika.
- To wrap it up, tuck in one side of the paper and tightly wrap the paper around itself.
- Twist and fold the bottom until you have a pita that looks like the one pictured above.
- As you eat, peal the paper back to expose more of the pita. Enjoy!