Chef Renee Scharoff Lamb Pita with Harissa Aioli, Pickled Shallot and Roasted Garlic, Bitter Micro Greens

  • Prep time 30Min
  • Cook time 2Hr
  • Technique Grill, Roast, Grill
  • Meat Lamb
  • Cut Leg
  • Serves 24

The third in our Down Under 7 series, chef Renee Scharoff shares a favorite recipe.


For the lamb: 

4-4.5 pound boneless leg of lamb

2 large garlic heads

3 large sprigs of fresh rosemary 

Salt & pepper

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling 


For the pita:

8 oz. of lukewarm water (105-110F)

1 tablespoon of sugar 

2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast 

3 cups of of AP flour (or enough to form a soft and slightly sticky dough)

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil 

1 3/4 teaspoons of kosher salt 


For the harissa aioli:

1 whole egg

4 cloves of garlic 

2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice 

1/2 cup of canola oil

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil


For the quick “pickled” shallots:

2 shallots

1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar 

1 pinch of pepper

Kosher salt and ground black pepper 

1 tablespoon of Harissa paste or to taste 


To make the lamb: 

Preheat oven to 300 F.

 Cut the garlic bulbs in half. 

 Place the boneless leg of lamb in a large roasting pan. Put one large spring of rosemary on the bottom of the pan.  Score the top of the lamb and place a few pieces of garlic into the scores, top with the left over rosemary.

Season generously with kosher salt and pepper, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and place lamb onto the rosemary.

Cover tightly with foil.  Place into the oven for about 5 hours or until the lamb meat is tender and pulling apart with a fork. Keep the juices and fat to mix back into the shredded lamb. (This makes a lot!)


To make the pita: 

Add the warm water, sugar, and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer along with one cup of flour. Whisk everything together until uniform and set aside for 15 minutes. The mixture should bubble and foam.

 Add the olive oil and salt, along with 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mix on low, using a dough hook, until the dough is soft and not sticking to the sides of the bowl. If it’s sticking add an additional 1/4 cup of flour at a time until no sticking. 

 Knead on low for 5-6 minutes and remove the dough, turn out onto floured work space and form into a ball.

 Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough inside, coat the dough. cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm area for 2 hours or until doubled in size.

 Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a floured work surface and cut dough into 4 pieces. Take the pics and gently roll into a med long log. Take a dough cutter and cut the long into small pieces. 

 Form each piece of dough into a small ball, pulling the dough from the sides and tucking it underneath the bottom. Place the balls about an 1-inch apart on a floured surface and cover them with lightly oiled cling film. Rest for 30 minutes. 

 Roll the dough balls into flat round pitas, about 1/2 thickness.  Allow the dough to rest another 20-30 minutes. 

 Take a cast iron pan and brush with a tiny bit of oil, med high heat.  Add the pita and cook each side for about 2-3 minutes or the pita puffs up and turns a bit brown, flip and cook other side. 

Chef's note: My favorite is cooking the pita on the grill. It gives the pita a wonderful smokey flavor with grill marks. Make the same as above. Makes about 24 mini pitas.


For the harissa aioli: 

Place egg, garlic and lemon juice in the bottom of an emersion blender cup. Pour the canola oil on top and then pour the extra virgin olive oil  on top, let it settle for about 10 seconds. 

Place the head of the emersion blender at the bottom of the cup and turn on. As the aioli forms slowly pull the emersion stick until all the oil is emulsified. 

Season with S & P and Harissa paste to taste. 

For the quick "pickled" shallots:

Cut the shallot in half and then cut thin rings or thin half moon shapes.

Place the cut shallots in a small bowl and pour the rice wine vinegar over the shallots.

Mix well and add a pinch of pepper, make sure the shallots are completely covered in the liquid.

Steep the shallots for at least 30 minutes or longer to infuse the flavor. 


To assemble: 

Warm the pita in the oven.

Warm the shredded lamb and place about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of lamb on top. 

Add Harissa aioli on to the lamb.

Add a clove of roasted garlic or crushed/mashed garlic.

Add a pickled shallot or two.

Finish with bitter micro greens.