By | November 30th, 2017

Submitted by Victor Alvarez, Executive Chef, L’Hirondelle Club of Ruxton (Md.)
Yield: 16 2-oz. falafels

Amt Ingredient
3 cups chickpeas
.05 cup plus
1 tbsp. bulgar wheat
3 medium yellow onions, rough chopped
15 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tbsp. cumin seeds, whole
3 tbsp. coriander seeds, whole
1 tbsp. black peppercorn, whole
1 tbsp. kosher salt (plus more to adjust for taste)
3 tbsp. mint, finely chopped
3 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
3 tbsp. parsley, finely chopped
3 tbsp. white sesame seeds
3 tbsp. baking soda
1 to 2 qts. canola oil
tzatiki sauce (see recipe below)
pickled onions (see recipe below)
1 pkg. pita bread
32 mint sprigs (for garnish)
32 dill sprigs (for garnish)
1 cucumber (for garnish)

• Place the chickpeas and bulgar wheat in a bowl and add water to cover by two inches. Cover and soak overnight.
• Drain well and grind through the small die of a meat grinder into a large bowl. Grind the onions and the garlic through the meat grinder into a bowl set under a fine mesh strainer. Press on the onions to release the excess juice. Discard the juices, then add the onion and garlic to the chickpea mixture.
• In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant. Transfer to a spice grinder, add the peppercorns, and grind to a powder.
• Transfer the spices to the chickpea mixture, along with the salt, mint, cilantro, parsley and sesame seeds. Stir to combine. Mix in the baking soda and let stand for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
• Heat a medium pot filled 2 inches with canola oil to 350º F. Using your hands, shape the chickpea mixture into 2-oz. balls. Fry in batches for three minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Keep warm until service.

For the Tzatziki Sauce:
Yield: 3 cups
16 ozs. plain Greek yogurt
4 ozs. sour cream or crème fraiche
2 cucumbers, seeded and minced
half red onion, minced
2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
2 lemons, juiced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping tbsp. cumin
to finish good extra virgin olive oil
to taste salt and pepper

• In a large stainless-steel bowl, add all ingredients except for olive oil and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
• Finish with olive oil; adjust seasoning if necessary.
• Let sit, covered, one hour in refrigerator. Keep cool until service.

For the Pickled Onions:
Yield: 2 cups
2 small red onions, sliced into rings
.50 cup red wine vinegar
3 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. white sugar
pinch saffron bloomed in lemon juice, white wine and water mixture (.50 cup total for mixture)
.25 cup lemon juice
.25 cup white wine
.25 cup warm water

• Bloom the saffron in lemon juice, white wine and water to measure a total of .50 cup
• Bring onion, red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, salt, sugar and bloomed saffron with the lemon juice, white wine and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
• Remove from heat, let steep for 15 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Keep covered and chill until service.

For the Pita:
1 pkg. favorite pita bread
2 ozs. clarified butter
4 tbsp. roasted garlic powder
to taste salt and pepper

• Using a pastry brush, brush pita with clarified butter. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
• Cut into eight wedges. Bake in a convection oven at 400º F. for six minutes or until crispy. Keep warm until service.

For the Cucumber Garnish:
• Roll cucumber strips into cone shape at an offset angle. Keep cool, reserve for service.

• At service, on four warm lunch-round plates, place tzatziki sauce down on center of plate and swipe in desired direction.
• On top of tzatziki, place two falafels, three pita strips, two mint sprigs and two dill sprigs around the falafels.
• Arrange three cucumber cones around the falafel and top with pickled onions. Serve immediately.

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