Turkish Lamb Kofte with Fresh Herb Salad
Crushed Marash Chili—a staple in Turkish cooking and close relative of famed Aleppo pepper—has a well-balanced heat with sweet notes of roasted red pepper and dried fruit. This food-friendly pepper pairs beautifully with smoky cumin, coriander and fresh herbs in our take on Turkish kofte (grilled ground meat skewers). We love these spice-laden skewers with a light salad punctuated by fresh parsley, mint and dill tossed with a simple lemon-forward dressing.
Cook's note: The kofte mix can also be used to make burgers—either grilled or seared in a pan. Serve the burgers atop toasted buns and garnish with the fresh herb salad.
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2–3 teaspoons Marash Chili (depending on how much heat you want)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Tellicherry Peppercorns
- 1 pound ground lamb (or 1/2 pound ground lamb & 1/2 pound ground beef)
- 1/2 small white onion, grated
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons mint leaves, finely chopped
- Twelve 6-inch skewers, soaked for 15 minutes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- One lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- Pinch of Marash Chili
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup fresh dill fronds, roughly chopped
- 1 head butter lettuce, washed, dried and torn into bite-sized pieces
- Fleur de sel, for garnishing
To make the kofte, heat a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and cook until lightly toasted, about 30 seconds to one minute. Transfer the toasted spices to a mortar and crush the spices into a coarse powder. Alternatively, pulse the spices in a spice grinder.
Transfer the crushed toasted spices to a large bowl. Add the Marash chili, salt, pepper, ground lamb, grated onion, garlic, chopped parsley and mint and mix thoroughly to combine.
Divide the lamb kofte mixture into 12 pieces. Using your hands, take one piece and roll it into an oval, about 4 inches long. Press one skewer into the center of the lamb and mold the meat around it, gently pressing it flat to finish. Transfer the finished skewer to a plate or platter and repeat with the remaining ground lamb. Cover and refrigerate for 10—15 minutes to let the flavors meld (you can also make these a couple hours ahead of time).
To cook the kofte, heat a grill pan or large skillet over medium high heat. Remove the lamb skewers from the refrigerator, brush with olive oil and grill until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked lamb kofte to a serving platter and garnish with lemon wedges.
To make the fresh herb salad, whisk the lemon juice, Marash chili and salt in the bottom of a large serving bowl until the salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil until combined. Add the fresh herbs and lettuce and toss to coat in the dressing. Garnish with a sprinkling of fleur de sel and serve alongside the grilled lamb kofte.