A Tower of Boxes – Turkish Pita Nachos
Packing is such an emotional roller coaster of a process. As I will spend a good portion of our remaining month in Delaware traveling for business I spent most of Sunday packing items into boxes, labeling their contents, and arranging them in miniature towers on the back stairwell.
When it comes to moving I am by no means a “keeper of things” the logical portion of my brain insists that there is simply no sense in packing, transporting, and unpacking things that aren’t needed or used. Dustin on the other hand likes to hold onto sentimental nick nacks – bottles filled with sand, old letters, used beer caddies – things which on first glance offend my “if you don’t use it toss it” sensibilities. But as I knelt sorting through drawers and baskets and uncovered treasured items tucked away around the house I wished just a bit that I was a keeper of things and that I had my own trove of souvenirs and memories secreted away.
I believe that part of my desire to create this blog stems from own will to create a trail of memories – to tell stories of get togethers, share tastes of market adventures and to chronicle my own successes and failures in the kitchen. Feeling a bit nostalgic, I flipped through pictures of some of the recipes we have managed to pull together in our tiny kitchen here in Delaware. That is when I came across this photo of the Turkish Nachos we concocted earlier this spring. They were inspired by a post from the Travelers Lunchbox which I adapted and adjusted to come up with the recipe that follows – I think its a real keeper!
Turkish Pita Nachos
For the Spinach
1 TSP Cumin Seeds, Toasted and Ground
1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 lb. Merguez Sausage Casings Removed and Chopped Finely
2 TBSP Butter
1 Lg. Spanish Onion Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves Minced
1.5 lb. Frozen Spinach, Washed and Drained
½ TBSP Pomegranate Molasses
1 TBSP Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
Small Pinch Cinnamon
Thin Pita Chips (I recommend Trader Joe’s low fat sea salt pita chips, their thinner than the regular variety)
Toasted Slivered Almonds
For the Yogurt Sauce
1 Cup Whole Milk Greek Yogurt
2 TBSP Tahini Paste
2 Cloves Garlic Smashed
Juice of ½ a Lemon
Salt and Pepper
I Bunch of Cilantro Chopped
Ground Aleppo Pepper (optional)
Ground Sumac (optional)
Starting with the spinach. Toast cumin seeds in a dry pan until fragrant. Grind finely in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat (I use a 14″ deep sided cast iron pan) once oil is hot evenly disperse the chopped lamb sausage meat into the pan and fry until lightly browned.Remove the cooked meat from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Depending on the amount of oil left from the lamb sausage you will want to add between one and two TBSP butter to the pan – you want to have around 3 TBSP total in the pan. Add chopped onion and minced garlic and sautéed until onion is translucent. Add spinach and cumin and sautéed one to two mins or until spinach is warmed. Add pomegranate molasses, reduce heat to low and simmer 15mins.
While spinach is simmering move onto the yogurt sauce, in a small food processor combine all ingredients and pulse until mixture is smooth. Add a small pinch of salt and a bit of pepper.
When the spinach has simmered for 15 minutes remove pan from heat, add lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and a healthy amount of freshly ground pepper (5 or so turns of the mill.)
Taste! This is the most important step in the process! I recommend using a pita chip to taste for balance – on a small plate or napkin spoon a bit spinach mixture onto a pita chip and top with a dab of yogurt sauce to gauge if more salt and or pepper is needed, remember that you can add aleppo pepper before serving to kick up the spice factor. Add additional lemon, salt and pepper, and or tahini paste to the yogurt mixture to achieve a balance of flavors that suits your palate.
Yogurt sauce and spinach mixture can be prepared a day in advance. If serving immediately I recommend plating individual portions as it is difficult to divide up a large presentation at the dinner table. Arrange a layer of pita chips in the bottom of a dish and top with a thin layer of spinach, drizzle yogurt sauce. Sprinkle on toasted almonds, cilantro, a small pinch of sumac and Aleppo and serve immediately. I like to serve this with slices of lemons tucked into the side of the bowl so that diners can add an additional zing to the dish if they desire.