• 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt


  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted

    A Year at Catbird Cottage: Recipes for a Nourished Life Book cover A Year at Catbird Cottage: Recipes for a Nourished Life Melina Hammer
  • 1 pound ground lamb

  • 1⁄3 cup mint leaves, finely chopped

  • 1⁄4 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 7 to 10 small Carola, Yukon gold, or new potatoes, scrubbed

  • Japanesish cucumber pickles for garnish

  • Quick Pickled Red Onions for garnish

  • Purple or regular basil leaves for garnish

  • 2 garlic chive flower heads

  • Ramp Salt for garnish


Make the labneh: Line a medium sieve with muslin or finely woven cheesecloth and place atop a container large enough to catch any drips. Transfer the yogurt to the muslin and place the whole thing in the refrigerator overnight. The liquid that separates is whey and can be saved for another use, such as baking sourdough, adding to salad dressings, or fermenting. Store the labneh refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 10 days.

Make the lamb mixture: Grind the coriander and cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle. Combine the lamb, mint, parsley, coriander, cumin, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix with your hands until evenly incorporated. Loosely form the mixture into six 2 by 2 1⁄2-inch ovals and thread three each onto skewers that can fit inside a large cast-iron skillet.

In a medium saucepan, add the 1 tablespoon kosher salt to enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer potatoes over medium-low heat until they are tender when pierced with a small sharp knife (check after 5 to 7 minutes). Drain and set aside. Pour the tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil into a cast-iron skillet set on medium-high heat. When it shimmers, swirl to coat and sear the skewers undisturbed for 2 minutes. Turn a few times to brown evenly on all sides, cooking 6 to 7 minutes for medium or medium-rare.

Divide the labneh between two plates, swirling dollops on the plate surface. Arrange a small cluster of potatoes beside it. Arrange a lamb skewer on top of the labneh and nestle small piles of Japanesish pickles and pickled onions on either side. Add a generous amount of fresh basil leaves and snipped garlic chive blossoms to top the skewers, and sprinkle the potatoes with Ramp Salt. Eat at once.

“Reprinted with permission from A Year at Catbird Cottage: Recipes for a Nourished Life. Copyright © 2022 by Melina Hammer. Photography Copyright © 2022 by Melina Hammer. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.”

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