Go Greek with recipes for grilled lamb cutlets, fennel tzatziki and more

Can't get to Greece? Chef Maria Elia is sharing how to bring Greece to you with these three flavorful recipes from her cookbook "Smashing Plates: Greek Flavors Redefined." 

Grilled lamb cutlets 

Serves 4

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄3 cup lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12-16 lamb cutlets or rib chops (depending on your appetite)
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Mix together the garlic, oregano, olive oil, and lemon juice in a non-reactive bowl, adding a generous pinch of salt and some pepper. Add the lamb cutlets and mix to combine evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate for at least two hours.

Preheat an outdoor grill or grill pan and cook the cutlets over high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on their thickness and your preferred "done-ness." Transfer to a plate and serve with lemon wedges.

Fennel tzatziki

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Sea salt
  • 11/2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 fennel bulb
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • A pinch of superfine sugar

Toast the fennel seeds in a small pan until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind along with the garlic and a generous pinch of sea salt. Transfer to a bowl and mix with the yogurt.

Trim the fennel of any tough outer layers and finely chop, along with any fronds. Mix with the yogurt, then add the lemon juice and sugar and taste for salt. Refrigerate for an hour or so before use to allow the flavors to infuse. The tzatziki should keep well in the fridge for 3 days. Variations: Add some chopped mint for a fresher flavor and/or a little finely grated orange zest, especially good with fish.

"Village" (Greek) salad
Serves 4 generously

  • 4 large vine ripe tomatoes, cut into thick wedges
  • 1 Greek/Lebanese cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds 
  • 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 16 Kalamata olives 
  • 11/2 cups Feta cheese
  • A dash of red wine vinegar (optional)
  • Sea salt

Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and olives together in a serving bowl and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Place the feta on top, sprinkle with the oregano, and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, if using. Serve immediately with crusty bread.