Musa Dagdeviren cleverly adapts a classic recipe from the town of Kilis in southeastern Turkey: He soaks the zucchini in a saltwater bath, so it stays green and crisp even after it's cooked.
More Amazing Lamb Recipes
2 quarts water
4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 pound ground lamb
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste blended with 1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons Turkish sweet red pepper paste (see Note) or mild chile sauce
3/4 cup canned chickpeas, drained
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
How to Make It
In a large bowl, combine the water and 3 tablespoons of kosher salt and stir until dissolved. Add the zucchini and let soak for 25 minutes. Drain.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the lamb and cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until no pink remains, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, diluted tomato paste and the red pepper paste and simmer for 1 minute. Add the zucchini and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the zucchini to a bowl and let cool slightly. Sprinkle with the parsley and mint and serve warm or at room temperature.
Turkish sweet red pepper paste is available at Middle Eastern markets.
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