Grilled lamb and pita sandwiches

To me, leg of lamb never tastes better than when it is marinated, crusted with herbs, and grilled medium-rare. For a terrific summer dinner for six, plus enough leftovers for a weeknight sandwich supper, buy a 3½ to 4 pound boned and butterflied leg of lamb. Mince 6 large cloves of garlic, and mix it with ½ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of ground pepper. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. Just before grilling, remove the lamb from the marinade and coat one side with ¼ cup dried oregano and the other side with ¼ cup crushed dried rosemary.

For grilled-to-perfection lamb, grill over a medium-hot fire, covered, for about 15 minutes per side. You can slice and peek to check for doneness, but I’m a big fan of instant-read thermometers. Medium-rare is 120º to 130ºF.


Serves 4


2 red bell peppers cored and quartered (see Note)
4 pita breads halved
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup mayonnaise
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 large English cucumber
1 tablespoon fresh mint finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 pound grilled leg of lamb thinly sliced, and then cut into thin strips


Preheat the broiler. Place the peppers on a rimmed baking sheet skin-side-up. Broil until the skin is blackened, 8 to 10 minutes. Wrap in damp paper towels and let sit while you make the sauce. Turn the oven to 250ºF. Wrap the pitas in foil and warm in the oven.

While the peppers are roasting prepare the yogurt sauce. Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice in a medium bowl. Trim the ends of the cucumber. Use the coarse side of a box grater to grate about 1/3 of the cucumber, including the peel. Without packing it, measure 1 cup. Grate more if needed. Mix the grated cucumber, mint, and salt into the yogurt mixture. Add pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cut the rest of the cucumber into 2-inch-long matchsticks. Scrape the skin off the peppers and cut into thin strips. Mix the cucumber, peppers, and lamb in a large bowl. Add 2/3 cup of the sauce and gently mix. Fill each pita half and serve immediately. Serve the sandwiches with crudités (raw veggies), using the extra sauce as a dip.


As a time saver, roasted red peppers are available in jars in specialty stores or well-stocked supermarkets. Blot dry with a paper towel before slicing.