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    from "The Barbecue! Bible" by Steven Raichlen

    This is one of the most popular kebabs in Turkey—a glory of smoke and fire featuring two of the best ingredients ever to hit a barbecue grill: lamb and eggplant. Legend credits its invention to a kebab maker named Ali Nasik ("Gentle Al") from the city of Bursa. Gentle Al's brainstorm was to serve grilled, spiced ground lamb kebabs over a tangy purée made from fire-charred eggplant and yogurt. Today, you find the kebabs all over Turkey. For the sake of convenience, the eggplant purée can be prepared ahead. (I like to grill it the day before.) For a really great tasting purée, use whole-milk yogurt from a Middle Eastern market. Note that the dill in the lamb isn't strictly traditional, but I like the way it rounds out the flavor.

    Method: Direct Grilling
    Advance Preparation: 1 to 2 hours for chilling the kebabs
    Special Equipment: 4 flat, wide, long metal skewers

    Makes 4 kebabs; Serves 4


    For The Kebabs
    1 pound ground lamb
    3 tablespoons minced onion
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried (optional)
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    For The Eggplant Puree
    2 Asian or other long slender eggplants (about 10 ounces each)*
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 to 1 1/4 cups whole-milk yogurt
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
    1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

    For Finishing
    Pita bread
    1 cup whole-milk yogurt
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

    FreshDirect Note* When Asian eggplants are unavailable, we will substitute one standard eggplant in this recipe.

    Print recipe

    1. Combine the lamb, onion, garlic, dill (if using), salt, cumin, and pepper in a large bowl. Knead and squeeze the mixture with your hands until thoroughly blended, 3 to 4 minutes. To test the mixture for seasoning, sauté a small amount of it in a nonstick skillet until cooked through, then taste, adding salt or pepper to the remaining mixture as necessary.
    2.Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Divide the meat mixture into 4 equal portions. Lightly wet your hands with cold water, then mold each portion around a skewer to form a sausage about 11 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. Place each kebab as it is made on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate the kebabs for 1 to 2 hours.
    3.Preheat the grill to high.
    4.When ready to cook, place the eggplants on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until the skin is charred on all sides and the flesh is soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the eggplants to a plate and let cool.
    5.Scrape off as much of the charred skin as possible (it's not necessary to remove every bit). Cut the eggplant into chunks and process in a food processor until puréed. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the garlic, 1 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper. The purée should be quite loose; add the remaining 1/4 cup yogurt as needed. Correct the seasoning, adding lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste; the mixture should be highly seasoned. Cover and set aside.
    6.If necessary, add 20 to 24 fresh coals to bump up the grill heat to high.
    7.When ready to cook, if not using the grateless method, generously oil the grate. Arrange the kebabs on the grill as described in the grateless method, or arrange directly on the hot oiled grate. Grill, turning with tongs, until nicely browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes in all.
    8.Meanwhile, warm the eggplant purée on one side of the grill in an uncovered medium-size saucepan.
    9.Use a pita to protect your hand as you slide each sausage off its skewer onto a platter, then cut the sausages into 2-inch pieces. To serve, spoon the warmed eggplant purée into the center of 4 serving plates. Top each portion with 1/4 cup of the yogurt and arrange a cut-up sausage on the yogurt. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately with the pita.

    Product nutrition and information
     Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
      Choice Ground Lamb
    This product is currently unavailable.
      White Onion, Large - $1.49/lb
     Farm Fresh, Lg
      Eggplant - $1.49/lb
     Farm Fresh, Medium
      Axelrod Low Fat Plain Yogurt - $2.79/ea
      Lemons - $0.95/ea Save! 6 for $5.40
     Farm Fresh, Med
      Thomas' Sahara Whole Wheat Pita Pocket Bread - $3.19/ea
      Italian Parsley - $1.99/ea
     Farm Fresh
    Optional Ingredients
      Dill - $1.99/ea
     Farm Fresh, bunch
    You May Already Have
      Garlic - $3.99/lb
     Farm Fresh, Med
      Morton's Regular Salt - $0.99/ea
      FreshDirect Ground Cumin - $3.79/ea
      FreshDirect Tellicherry Pepper, Ground - $3.79/ea
      Roland Bamboo Skewers - $2.99/ea plus tax
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