Julie from CA writes: We had a delicious grilled leg of lamb for dinner last night, but now have a ton of it left over. We also have some brown rice as well as fresh zucchini, squash, and rosemary from the garden. We were thinking some sort of sandwiches with pita, but we live out in the country and there’s no good pita around. Thoughts?
Tony’s take: Leg of lamb is one of those leftovers that’s really easy to work with. I generally don’t favor re-heating it because the cut’s tender, medium-rare doneness is what makes it so tasty (try over-cooking lamb – not great). I like your idea of a sandwich because this fits with this no-reheating tenet. You could grill up the vegetables (toss them with a little spice – cumin and chipotle powder) and then pair with the lamb and a homemade hummus. And even though you can’t access good pita, homemade grilled flatbreads are easy enough to make (15 minutes of hands-on work and 1 hour total time) with this wonderful recipe from my friend Maryellen Driscoll at Fine Cooking. You’ll have something far better than store-bought pita for the bread and the sandwiches, themselves, will be the best kind of leftovers: leftovers that don’t feel like leftovers.
What you need: Ingredients: Roasted lamb (1 lb. is enough), zucchini and summer squash (1 1/4 lb. total or 3 medium), spices (ground cumin, chipotle powder), red onion, canned chick peas, olive oil, garlic, tahini (or toasted sesame oil), lemon (1), fresh rosemary, pita bread (or ingredients for flatbreads), pickles, hot sauce.
Equipment: Grill, tongs, cutting board, chef’s knife, colander, food processor, spatula
How to do it: Prepare the hummus: Zest and juice 1 lemon. Dump one 14 1/2-oz can chick peas (or 1 1/2 cups) into a colander and rinse well under running water. Transfer to a food processor along with 1 minced clove garlic, the lemon zest, 1 Tbs. tahini (or 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil), 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and pulse to finely chop the garbanzos. While processing, add a good splash of olive oil (about 1/4 cup) in a thin, steady stream so the mixture starts to become smooth. While still pureeing, add 1 Tbs. of the lemon juice and a couple Tbs. of water so the mixture becomes smooth and hummus-like. Season with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice to taste.
Grill the vegetables: Light up a medium charcoal fire or heat the burners on a gas grill to medium. Trim the zucchini and summer squash (about 1 1/4 lb. total, or 3 medium) and then slice lengthwise about 1/4-inch thick. Cut the onion into 1/2-inch disks (try to leave them whole so they won’t fall through the grates on the grill or skewer them if you’re feeling anal retentive). Set all of the vegetables on a large, rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil (1 to 2 Tbs.), 1 tsp. ground cumin, a pinch of chipotle powder (if you have), and some salt and pepper, about 1 tsp. and 1/2 tsp. respectively. Grill the vegetables until they get good grill marks, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook the other sides until they, too, have good grill marks. At this point, the vegetables should be toothy, but tender and done. You can continue flipping and grilling until they reach your desired doneness.
Grill the flatbreads (see Maryellen’s recipes) or warm some pita breads (4, preferably large).
Make the sandwiches: Spreading the hummus over the pita or flatbreads, then topping with thinly sliced lamb (about 1 1/2 lb.), the grilled vegetables, and some pickles and hot sauce. Fold over (so they’re half moons) and enjoy.