Difficulty: Easy but special equipment needed
Adana is a city in southeastern Turkey in the middle of the fertile Cilician ( Çukurova) Plain. Its history is ancient; this was the area of the Hittite empire (c. 1800 B.C.). The cuisine of Adana has some influence from nearby Syria, but its most famous contribution to Turkish cuisine is the Adana kebab or köfte, a spicy hot mixture of ground lamb that is grilled. When you come across very spicy Turkish food in western Anatolia, it is a sure sign that it is imported from eastern Anatolia, where they enjoy hotter foods. Adana's interest in spicy foods might have a medieval origin for in the time of Marco Polo the nearby port of Ayas was an important transhipment place for Asiatic spices and wares; the Venetians, perpetually mesmerized by spices, even had a bailo (consul) there. I've changed the basic recipe so one is using ground meat instead of chunks of meat.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time: 1:20 hours
1. In a large bowl, knead the lamb, veal, cayenne, coriander, cumin, pepper, salt, and butter together well, keeping your hands wet so the meat doesn't stick to them. Cover and let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
2. Prepare a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill on medium-low for 15 minutes. Form the meat into patties about six inches long and two inches wide. Grill until the k?fte are springy to the touch, about 20 minutes, turning often.
3. Meanwhile, brush the pide bread with olive oil, melted butter, or vegetable oil and grill or griddle for a few minutes until hot but not brittle.
4. Arrange the köfte on a serving platter or individual plates and serve with the pide bread, sliced onions, a sprinkle of sumac, and chopped parsley as a garnish.
Note: Turkish (and Greek) style pide bread is not the pocket bread we know as Arabic bread or pita bread. It is a flatbread, though, that needs to be warmed before using, usually to wrap foods in. It can be replaced with pita bread, of course, or even Indian nan bread that you might find in an Indian market. Pide bread can be found in Greek and Middle Eastern markets (often in the frozen food section) or you can try ordering some from Royal Pita, 14 Hope St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11211 (718-963-0790) or Athenaiki Pitta Corp., 38-11 29th St. Long Island City, N.Y. 11101 (718-706-0046).