Za’atar-Spiced Lamb & Labneh Pizzettes
Chef of Creative Development
Catering by Design
These individual Mediterranean-style pizzas make for easy eating while watching sports. They’re also easy to prepare, starting with a base of crisped pita bread instead of unbaked dough. The labneh and za’atar-spiced lamb can be made ahead, ready to assemble at game time. Chef Alexi Mandolini creates a housemade za-atar blend of coriander, thyme, cumin, sesame seeds and sumac that can be used in many other applications.
3 lb. lamb loin
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. coriander
1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp. sumac
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups labneh (recipe below)
50 crispy pita rounds (recipe below)
Torn mint leaves, for garnish
24 oz. plain whole milk yogurt
2 tsp. kosher salt
Crispy pita rounds
10 pita breads (6-in. size)
2 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
1. Prepare labneh: Line large strainer with cheesecloth. Place yogurt in cheesecloth; sprinkle with salt. Gather corners of cheesecloth to cover yogurt. Twist cheesecloth tightly and tie to a wooden spoon, allowing wrapped yogurt to hang over strainer. Set in fridge for 24 to 48 hours. Remove labneh from cheesecloth and discard whey.
2. Prepare spiced lamb: Preheat oven to 375 F. Rub lamb loin with oil. In small bowl, combine thyme, coriander, cumin, sesame seeds, sumac, salt and pepper for za’ater spice blend. Rub za’atar and garlic over lamb.
3. Over medium-high heat, heat large skillet. Sear lamb loin on all sides until golden brown.
4. Roast lamb in preheated oven until medium rare. Allow lamb to rest, then cut into thin slices.
5. For crispy pita rounds, preheat oven to 425 F. Cut pita breads into 50 mini pitas using a 2-inch round cutter. Arrange pitas on parchment-lined baking sheet; brush pitas with oil and season with salt. Bake 7 to 9 minutes until golden brown and crisp.
6. To serve, place a slice of lamb and dollop of labneh on each crispy pita round. Garnish with torn mint.
Photo courtesy of The American Lamb Board