During the summer, Ozge Kalvo cooks a certain traditional Turkish dish almost every weekend. “My husband and I cook it with my grandfather and grandmother, in our summer house,” says the sous chef of Balmain’s modern Turkish restaurant Efendy. “It reminds me of family.”
The dish is charcoal-barbequed lamb cutlets with a fresh salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and peppers. The best part: it’s easy. “You don’t have to do anything to prepare,” Kalvo says. “Just get the cutlets from the butcher as you like it: thin or thick. If you know a little bit about cooking, you can do every part of this dish.”
Originally from Istanbul, Kalvo first started working at Anason in Barangaroo (also owned by Somer Sivrioglu) before joining Efendy. Cooking with lamb reminds the chef of home. “Generally we eat more lamb dishes in Istanbul,” she says. “It’s easy to cook and it is more delicious than beef, I think.”
For those that like meat tender, pound the lamb. “In Turkey, we generally pound all the meat,” Kalvo says. “My mother, my grandmother, they were always pounding the veal, lamb cutlets, even eye fillets.”
Preparing the barbeque is the only part that can take a bit of time. “Maintaining the charcoal is the most difficult aspect,” Kalvo says. “Because you have to make sure all the charcoals are burning properly.”
The salad is very straightforward. One pro tip: Don’t waste the leftover dressing in the salad bowl. “When you finish the salad it is very traditional to dip the bread in that dressing,” Kalvo says. “Lots of my friends drink that dressing [straight from the bowl].”
Enjoy with a cold beer, or raki (a traditional Turkish alcoholic drink made from aniseed and grapes) over ice.
Barbeque Lamb Cutlets With Coban Salad
Serves 2 to 3
8 thin lamb cutlets, roughly 1cm
Salt and pepper to season
2 Lebanese cucumbers, quartered and sliced
1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 large Oxheart tomatoes, coarsely chopped to same size as cucumbers
4 Turkish curly peppers, thinly sliced
1 tsp sumac
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Bread to serve
Pre-heat the barbeque. Place the grill onto the barbeque to heat up before you begin to cook the lamb. Season the lamb cutlets at room temperature with salt and pepper on both sides. Put the cutlets on the grill and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or a little longer if you prefer your meat well-cooked.
Place all the vegetables in a bowl and sprinkle some salt and the sumac over before mixing together with your hands. Drizzle olive oil, lemon juice and the apple cider vinegar directly on the vegetables. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
If you’re unable to find Turkish peppers, which Kalvo says are more sweet than other varieties, opt for bull’s horn green peppers.
Oxheart tomatoes are easier to chop, but normal tomatoes will also suffice.
Vietnamese breads are more similar Turkish breads. “You can always use sourdough,” Kalvo says. “Try to find thick ones; not pita, not lavash.”
Try to get the lamb from the middle of the rib, because it’s more tender and juicy.
Kalvo would opt for a coal barbeque, as it will give a smoky flavour to the lamb, but a gas barbeque or pan will also work.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Australian Lamb.