Recently my favorite Greek Gyro shop closed. It was a sad day for me. This highly seasoned beef and lamb treat served on a pita bread is so messy to eat but so good, I gladly stand in line to get it. With lettuce falling everywhere and tatziki sauce dripping off my hands, I would dive in like it was my last meal. Dainty bites don’t do it here, so conversation was limited to raised eyebrows and nods of approval and enjoyment.
So one day I decided to come up with a substitute that would maybe be a bit less messy to eat. It actually started when I was working on a recipe for Olive Rolls. While my husband and I were enjoying them, my mind wandered to other Greek foods I thought would compliment the calamata olives. Then it hit me! Gyro Burgers on Olive Buns!! To make things better, the burgers are ridiculously easy to make with all the lusty flavors of the real thing. Garlic is a key flavoring here so you have a choice of how much to use – just don’t leave it out or the taste won’t be there. I topped them with a Greek Relish which is a little easier to eat. The burgers can be served on any bun but the Olive Buns make them that more special. The buns can be made weeks ahead and frozen if desired.
To add a final touch to the burgers, I serve them with zucchini fries. The zucchini fries use panko crumbs to make them extra crispy. They can be kept warm in a 150 degree oven for an hour or longer. The zucchini can be cut ahead of time if desired then breaded, fried and held when ready.
If my gyro shop reopened, I would stand in line again but in the meantime this is a burger to top them all – and satisfy a craving.
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, optional
3 3/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 ounces calamata olives, very coarsely chopped
1 egg white
Dissolve the yeast in water. Add the oregano, olive oil and hot pepper flakes.
Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the liquid and beat with a dough hook until it comes together. It will form a shaggy mess at first. Continue beating until it reaches the clean bowl stage. Beat on medium for 5 minutes to knead. To see if the gluten is adequately developed, take a small piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. If it is done there will be a “windowpane” where the dough stretches thin enough to see through without breaking. If it doesn’t, continue beating. Add the olives and mix until they are distributed.
Place in an oiled bowl at least twice as big as the dough. Cover with plastic wrap, mark the time on it and and allow to rise for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch down and shape immediately or refrigerate overnight. Divide into 10 equal pieces
Allow to rise until doubled about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While it is preheating, whisk the egg white with a fork until foamy. Brush the buns with the egg white. Place them in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely. Use immediately or freeze for later use. If frozen, place on a baking sheet from the freezer and warm for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 to 2 large garlic cloes, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 to 3 tablespoons sour cream (can be low fat)
1/3 cup seeded cucumbers, finely diced
1/3 cup seeded tomatoes, finely diced
1/4 cup green pepper, finely diced
3 tablespoons chopped calamata olives (about 9)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoo pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tp 4 tablespoon sour cream (can be low fat)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Cut the shell.
If you can’t find panko crumbs at the supermarket, it is well worth the trip to go to an Oriental or International Store where they will have them.
1 large zucchini
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup (or more) panko crumbs
Vegetable oil, as needed
Cut the zucchini into thirds crosswise. Cut each piece in half lengthwise. With the flat side down, cut into 3 to 4 pieces lengthwise. If the pieces are too wide, cut them in half again legnthwise, making “fries”.
Line two baking pans with paper towels. Place the flour, salt and pepper in one bowl, the egg in another and the panko in a third bowl. Dredge five or six fries in the flour. Shaking off the excess flour, place them in the egg. Turn them on all four sides to make sure they are completely coated with egg. Last, place them, one at a time in the panko crumbs, covering them completely. Place on the baking sheet. When they are all coated, heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a sauté pan. Fry until golden brown, turning to brown the other side. Remove to the second towel lined pan. Continue until they are all done. Sprinkle with salt. Place in a preheated 150 degree oven to keep warm if not eating immediately.