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Cooking On The Couch: Making Greek Cuisine With Maria Loi

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NEW YORK (WLNY) – Chef Maria Loi is the chef and owner of the hot spot Loi on the Upper West Side. She stopped by The Couch to show us how to make a simple, healthy souvlaki.

Meat, Fish, Vegetable, and Florini Pepper & Halloumi Souvlaki

Ingredients:

3 lbs lamb, cleaned and trimmed, cut into large cubes

3 lbs swordfish, cleaned and trimmed, cut into large cubes

2packages of Halloumi Cheese, cut into large cubes 6florini peppers, roasted

1 red onion
1 pt cherry tomatoes
1 lb white button mushrooms
2 green bell peppers
1large zucchini

salt, pepper, oregano as needed
Greek Olive Oil, as needed
Lemon Wedges, as needed
Parsley, chopped, for garnish

Mint-Yogurt Sauce

2 cGreek Yogurt
¼ cChopped mint
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tsp Greek Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method:

First, in two separate bowls, marinate the lamb and the swordfish in olive oil, salt, pepper, and oregano for approximately one hour.

While your proteins are marinating, take your 10″ wooden skewers, and soak them in water for about an hour – this prevents them from burning when you grill them later.

In the meanwhile, first de-stem your mushrooms, and then clean them, wiping the caps with a clean, damp kitchen towel to remove all the dirt and grit.

Next, wash the rest of your vegetables, and then to cut your pepper, cut the top and bottom off, slice it to unroll and lay it flat, and then remove the seeds and veins. Once you have a clean, rectangular piece of pepper, cut it into 1″ x 1″ squares, and set aside.

Take your zucchini, cut it in half, and then slice into pieces thick enough to fit on the skewer (approximately ½”- ¾”), and set aside.

For your onion, cut off the ends, peel the outer layer, and cut in half. Now, take each half, lay it on the flat side, cut it in half lengthwise, and then into 1/3′s horizontally – you should now have a total of 12 ‘piles’ of rectangular onion chunks, and as such are ready to skewer!

Begin with the halloumi & roasted florini pepper skewers by taking the large cubes of halloumi, wrapping them in the already-roasted florini peppers, and skewering them. Be sure to leave a little bit of space between each piece, to make sure everything cooks evenly and gets that beautiful charred flavor. Continue wrapping and skewering until all your florini wrapped halloumi has been skewered, then drizzle with olive oil, and season with pepper and oregano to taste (tread lightly with the salt, and the halloumi is salty enough).

To assemble your vegetable skewers, take your soaked wooden skewer, start with a piece of red onion, followed by a piece of green pepper, then your cherry tomato, mushroom, and finally the zucchini. Continue this process until the skewer is full, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and oregano to taste and then repeat until all your vegetables are skewered and ready to grill.

Once your vegetables have been skewered, it’s time to move on to your fish, which should be done marinating by now. Simply take the marinated fish, and place on the skewer, with a tiny bit of room between each piece, ensuring even cooking, continuing until the skewer is full. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and oregano, and then repeat the process until all your fish is skewered and ready to grill.

Finally, skewer the lamb the same way you did the fish, lightly seasoning with salt, pepper and oregano.

Now, to grill the skewers, get a grill pan very very hot over a high heat, and grill the skewers approximately 2 minutes per side, or until your protein reaches the level of doneness you enjoy (the same logic applies to your vegetable souvlaki). When your souvlaki are done, allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving.

While the souvlaki are resting, make your yogurt-mint sauce – to do so, simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl, and stir to combine; season with salt and pepper according to your taste – and now you’re ready to serve!