Pita bread with shawarma, usually lamb or pork, is popular street food in the Netherlands. I discovered that it can be really good, if freshly made from high quality ingredients. You can read my post about that here. Some months ago our friend Michiel cooked dinner for us, and as main course he served a completely different take on this: salmon instead of meat, and with a beetroot tzatziki instead of garlic sauce. It was really good and I decided to try making something similar myself. Recently I remembered this, and here is my version.
The quality and freshness of the bread makes a big difference. In this case I made a flatbread using the recipe for naan, but cooked it in the way of pita. But you could of course also buy fresh flatbread from a good source. The combination of the fresh bread that is still warm from the oven, the juicy spicy salmon, the tang of the beetroot tzatziki, and the crispiness of the red lettuce is delicious.
spicy salmon, from below
beetroot tzatziki, from below
2 large or 4 small flatbreads, such as pita or naan, preferably freshly homemade
red lettuce or radicchio, shredded
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin seed
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground fenugreek
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp if you like it less spicy, or more for very spicy)
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp minced dill
For the beetroot tzatziki
225 grams (.5 lb) beetroot, roasted for 1.5 hours in the oven, wrapped in aluminum foil, at 200°C/400°F, cooled, peeled, and grated
125 ml (1/2 cup) Greek yogurt
1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
For the salmon, start by making the spice mix. In a bowl put 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground cumin seed, 1/2 tsp ground coriander seed, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground fenugreek, 1/4 tsp ground allspice, 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper, and 1/4 tsp ground white pepper. If you don’t like it spicy hot, omit or decrease the amount of cayenne pepper. You could also increase it of course.
If you bake your own flatbread, cook the salmon in the hot oven after the flatbread. Otherwise, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Cook the salmon at 180°C/350°F until it is just cooked through, or about 20 minutes. Do not overcook the salmon, as we want it to be tender and juicy instead of dry. You could also cook the marinated salmon sous-vide for half an hour at 43°C/109°F. That way it will be amazingly buttery.
This is great with a dry full-bodied riesling. It has to be dry to work with the freshness of the tzatziki, and it has to be full-bodied and creamy to work with the salmon. A good choice is a Spätlese or Auslese from Germany, but make sure that it is dry. The best way to tell this is by the alcohol by volume, which should be above 11%. More about understanding German wine here.
In the Netherlands we have our own Dutchified version of Indonesian food, such as this nasi goreng with chicken satay and peanut sauce. I’m not sure if Indonesians would recognize it, but it is pretty tasty nonetheless.