grilled lamb kebabs with dukkah-yogurt sauce
I’ve become very partial to an Egyptian spice mix called dukkah. Nutty and warm, spiced with unexpected flavors, it’s good on almost everything: tossed on top of baked potatoes, scattered across the top of a bowl of soup, shaken onto a salad. Roasted vegetables with extra-virgin olive oil and salt are suddenly exciting with this on top. And if you have dukkah around, you can make pasta with butter and a handful of the spice mix for a quick dinner.
However, when you really want to plan ahead, try making these lamb skewers with dukkah- yogurt sauce. Marinating the lamb overnight makes the lamb tender. With a good sear from the grill, the hot kebabs cool down beautifully with the yogurt sauce.
If you want to serve these with warm gluten-free pita bread, dunked into extra-virgin olive oil and a little bowl of dukkah, I bet no one would mind.
1⁄2 cup hazelnuts
The lamb and yogurt sauce
2 cups whole milk yogurt
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Making the dukkah. Set a large skillet over high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the hazelnuts. Toast them, moving them around the pan occasionally to avoid burning, until they have browned a bit and smell heavenly toasty, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the hazelnuts from the pan and cool them to room temperature.
Toast the coriander and cumin seeds in the same manner. Remove from the skillet. Toast the sesame seeds, peppercorns, and fennel seeds in the same manner. Remove from the skillet.
Put the toasted hazelnuts, coriander, sesame seeds, cumin, peppercorns, sesame seeds, sumac (if using), salt, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. (If you use a mortar and pestle, that’s even better.) Pulse until everything is broken up but before it all becomes a paste.
Making the marinade. Mix 1 cup of the yogurt and 3 tablespoons of the dukkah in a large bowl. Put the lamb pieces into the yogurt, making sure they are submerged. Marinate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
Grilling the lamb. Turn on the grill as high as it will go. Take the lamb pieces out of the yogurt. Gently shake off any excess yogurt but do not wipe it off. Stick the lamb onto skewers (5 to 6 pieces per skewer). When the grill is fully heated, lay the lamb skewers onto the grill. Grill each side until it is nicely browned, 3 to 4 minutes, then turn and continue to brown on all the sides. When the lamb has reached an internal temperature of 160°F, take off the grill.
Making the dip. In a bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup of yogurt with another 3 tablespoons of the dukkah. Top with a healthy dollop of oil and serve with the kebabs.