I’ve been dreaming about all the trips I’m going to take post covid craziness, and Greece is on my short list. What I wouldn’t give to be sitting on a white washed veranda perched over the Aegean sea noshing on olives and feta right now! Instead I’m stuck inside a toddler wrecked house in a sweltering heat wave with no where to go and no one to see. Sighhhh. Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I’ve been “cooking” myself away to my dream destinations instead! This recipe for Beef and Shrimp Souvlaki transports me straight to Santorini. Souvlaki, or skewered pieces of seasoned meat and/or vegetables, is a popular Greek street food usually eaten hot straight off the stick or stuffed into a pita. Chicken seems to be the most typical souvlaki protein, but I have fancied things up here with thick cut strip steak and jumbo shrimp. It’s surf and turf Greek style- perfect for your next summer cookout.
I love grilling food on skewers when it gets hot outside- the heat brings out my inner cavewoman. There is something pleasantly primal about eating juicy meat off of a stick! While I like to serve these on the skewer for a more dramatic presentation, I prefer removing the meat and stuffing it into a pita or nestling it on a Greek salad to eat- a little more civilized but no less delicious. The tzatziki sauce on the side is a must! This cooling, tangy, summery condiment is the perfect counterpart to the rich, hot, spicy souvlaki. It’s a great recipe to have in your back pocket for a variety of uses. The zucchini skewers are optional, but I always like preparing as many courses as I can on the grill when I light up the coals! That way all you have to do is make a big salad and perhaps some orzo to go with the skewers! Enjoy your “trip to Greece” with these succulent souvlaki- I hope you find as much escape in the kitchen as I do!
prep time: ~45 min. cook time: 10 min. serves:4
1 lb thick cut steak, such as new york strip or sirloin, cut into 2” chunks
1 lb peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp, tails left on or off per preference
2 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/2” thick coins 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the zucchini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
2 plump cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 persian cucumbers or 1/2 English cucumber, grated or finely minced
1 cup whole fat or 2% plain Greek yogurt
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp lemon juice (from about half a lemon)
1 small garlic clove (or half a large), grated or finely minced
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Place the wooden skewers in a baking dish and cover with water. Let them soak at least 30 minutes, then remove them to a towel to drain.
Make the tzatziki sauce: place the grated cucumber in a towel lined colander and season with a pinch of salt (this helps to draw out the moisture). Place the colander in the sink or over a bowl to drain for 10 minutes. Wring the cucumbers out in the dish towel to squeeze out any extra water and set them aside. Place the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, dill, 1/2 tsp salt, and a few cranks of black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add the strained cucumbers and mix everything together. Check for seasoning and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the grill to 400° and spray with cooking oil. Place the beef, shrimp and zucchini in separate bowls or large zip top bags. Mix the marinade by adding all the remaining ingredients in a measuring cup and whisking to combine. Pour half the marinade over the beef and half over the shrimp and toss to coat. Drizzle the zucchini with 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste- toss to coat. Let everything marinate at least 30 minutes (the beef and zucchini can sit at room temp, pop the shrimp in the fridge) and up to 2 hrs (refrigerate everything if marinating longer than 30 min).
It’s time to skewer! Thead the beef, shrimp and zucchini onto wooden skewers, portioning so that you have 4 skewers of each ingredient. For the shrimp, I thread the skewer up through the base of tail and then through the “head” in a curled position so that they don’t flip around on the grill (See pic). Place the skewers on the hot grill and close the lid. Grill the shrimp 3 minutes on the first side then flip and grill another 2 minutes or so, until the flesh is opaque and the tails are bright pink. Grill the beef 3-4 minutes per side, until a brown crust forms on the outside and the meat registers medium rare (130°). Grill the zucchini until they are tender and lightly charred on the outside, 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the skewers to a platter and serve with the tzatziki sauce along side! Opa!