Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Lamb and Radish Lettuce Wraps with Minty Yogurt Sauce

Middle Eastern “keftas” (also called koftas, kaftas, or kuftahs) are small meat patties mixed with wonderfully aromatic spices, such as paprika, cumin, mint, turmeric, and cinnamon, among others.

For this kefta-style recipe, I grilled the meat patties without skewering them and served them in lettuce leaves with crunchy sliced radishes and a cool, creamy, and tangy yogurt sauce—brightened up with fresh mint and lemon zest.

You can cook the lamb patties on the stovetop too. I recommend a large cast-iron skillet or griddle, with just a scant amount of olive oil to brush on the bottom of the pan.

Note: If you’re not completely sold on the taste of lamb, use half ground beef in this recipe. Either way, the spices will provide the big flavor.

For more about keftas, check out Kefta Kebabs with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce.

Serves 4


For the Sauce
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp finely chopped lemon zest
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Sauce Ingredients
 For the Lamb
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large Boston lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes (halved, if large)
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
Mint and Spices
Garlic and Onion

For the Sauce
  1. Whisk the yogurt, mint, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 4.)
Combined Sauce Ingrdients 
Minty Yogurt Sauce
For the Lamb

  1. Place the lamb in a large bowl. Add the next 6 ingredients (through cumin) and season with salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine. Divide the mixture evenly into 8 puffy, oval-shaped patties. Let stand while the grill heats.
  2. Light a grill for medium heat with space for off-heat grilling.
  3. Rub the grill grate with oil and grill the patties until cooked through, turning 2 or 3 times, for a total of about 8 minutes, moving off-heat as needed if flare-ups occur. 
  4. Transfer to a plate or board and let rest 3 minutes.
Ready to Mix
Lamb Patties
Beginning to Grill
Grilled Lamb Patties
To serve, divide the lamb patties among the lettuce leaves and dollop with sauce. Top with radish slices and chopped chives, and pass any leftover sauce at the table.

Lamb and Radish Lettuce Wraps with Minty Yogurt Sauce

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