You step outside your office into a crisp, rain-driven evening. A quick walk around the corner and through the cobbled square leaves you standing in front of a door, that once inside, is like a glimpse into past meets present; a fabulous butcher shop (slash) hip, industrial luncheonette. It is Friday night, so the bustling lunch has transitioned to the traditional tasks of cutting meat and doing business. Stepping out of the rain as you remove the fashionable hat shielding the wet from your head, the cool air, all at once, turns warm and inviting, and better yet, dry!
There is a woman standing in front of the counter. She has dark hair pulled back into a ponytail and is wearing a Seattle-stylish outfit in gray and black, tall boots, smart hat and long tailored jacket with just enough sluff to be part of the casual, fun crowd. She is having a conversation with the tall, boyishly charming, young man who is behind the counter. He is slicing a beautifully marbled slab of beef into delicate, thin slices, effortlessly as if he is entertaining a guest at a dinner party. They know each other, you imagine, as their conversation is friendly and familiar.
The man briefly looks up and you are greeted, by name. You smile and turn to the women to ask her what she will be making with her slices of steak? “Stir fry,” she says. “What is the cut of meat you are slicing?” the women asks the man. “The Denver cut,” he replies. You had never heard of that cut prior to visiting Rain Shadow Meats but had considered buying it the week previous, settling on the thick rib-eye instead.
He wraps up the woman’s package and effortlessly begins preparing another as the conversation continues. You occupy yourself by eyeing the glass case, carefully assessing each plate of meat and pulling menus together in your head.
As the woman finishes up and pays for her packages, she finishes her story and tells the man that she will see him again soon. With that, she gathers up her goods and shoots you a quick smile before dashing out the door into the night.
Russ turns his smile to you and has already guessed as to what you will choose first. It is the steak sitting in the corner of the case, looking so enticing with it’s perfect coat of preserved lemon and parsley protecting the tender meat within. You have gotten this before and have come back more than once for more.
“It is the Denver cut this time,” he discloses, “not the ounglet” (the onglet is your favorite).
“I will take two” you reply.
“You won’t be disappointed.” he assures you, and you know you won’t be.
As you finish up your order and are about to check-out, you notice something you hadn’t seen before; lamb bacon. With breakfast in mind, you were going to ask for pork bacon but after a quick chat with Russ and then yourself, you decide you need to try the lamb bacon while it was in supply. Russ says they either have plenty or none; they make it in-house and when they run out, it can be awhile before they have more.
Russ says it starts out tasting of bacon then turns to a unique flavor instead. It is essentially cured lamb belly, just as pork bacon comes from the belly of the pig. As he slices the six pieces requested, you are reminded of pancetta with the round form and swirling of fat and meat. Russ has a client that buys this to make gyros for dinner. Carrying a bag filled with a dozen eggs, two thick-cut pork chops, steak, ground beef, the lamb belly, and a container of pickled onions, that is the last thought you have as you walk out the door.
As you fall asleep that night, lamb bacon invades your dreams and in the distance you can hear the echo of the word gyro (…gyro, gyro, gyro). The next morning as sit with your morning coffee, you begin to think about breakfast. Without hesitation, you go to the freezer, pull out some naan and begin mindlessly fixing a lamb belly bacon pizza / (slash) gyro.
Starts out like bacon, turns into something else.
Lamb gyro (slash) breakfast pizza (serves 4)
This is an easy breakfast that is even easier if you use store-bought hummus, garlic sauce and romesco. If you can’t find lamb bacon, substitute lamb sausage or ground lamb formed into oblongs, flavored with cumin, salt and pepper. It starts out looking like a pizza, fold it up and you have a breakfast gyro.
4 dime thick slices lamb bacon (lamb sausage or gyro meat if you can’t find the bacon)
4 pieces mini stone fired flatbread or naan
4 TB hummus (make your own or use your favorite purchased brand; I like Wholefoods brand)
2 TB Romesco sauce (make your own or purchase your favorite brand such as this)
Karam’s Lebanese Garlic sauce (It can be shipped within the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii)
4 eggs (salt, pepper for seasoning, butter for cooking)
Parsly for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degree F. Put the lamb bacon slices on a baking sheet and cook until slightly browned and cooked through, approximately 10 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
- Put the flatbread in the oven to heat through. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. They should be soft, slightly browned and hot. Put them in a warming drawer, or wrap in slightly moistened paper towels to heat again in the microwave before plating. You could, alternatively, put them in the toaster just as you begin cooking the eggs.
- Heat a little butter in a skillet and fry the eggs to your liking (season with salt and pepper but go light on the salt as the bacon is salty too).
- As the eggs finish, put one flatbread on each of four plates. With a small rubber spatula or butter spoon, spread approximately 1/2 TB Romesco sauce over each, followed by 1 TB hummus over each.
- Put one slice of bacon over top of each flatbread and squirt some garlic sauce over top.
6. Top with an egg and garnish with some parsley. Eat it as a pizza or fold it over to make a gyro.