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Culinary CPR: Lamb Meatball Sliders on Naan Bread with Warm Chickpea Salad

Summary: Chef Luca Paris joins Dr. Mike to discuss his latest savory recipe.
Air Date: 8/3/16
Duration: 20
Host: Dr. Mike Fenster
Guest Bio: Luca Paris, Chef
Luca Paris wineGianluca Paris is the Executive Chef and owner of Luca’s Mediterranean Café, a fine dining restaurant, The Market at Luca’s, offering light bistro style fare and gourmet take out and Luca's Culinary Journey Catering in Keene, New Hampshire, where he lives with his wife Lindy and his two children. He is the recipient of many accolades, including “Excellence in Dining” and “Best Service/Wait staff” every year since 2002 from Market Surveys of America, along with “Best Mediterranean Restaurant,” “Best Fine Dining Restaurant,” “Best Caterer in New Hampshire,” and, for four years, “Best Restaurant in the Monadnock Region” from New Hampshire Magazine.

Luca, as he is known to everyone, had a dream of opening his own restaurant since starting as a busboy at a family style Irish pub in New York at the age of 14.  Having been born in Italy, it would have to be a Mediterranean style restaurant and he never lost sight of his dream. He graduated from Johnson & Wales University 1989, where he met his wife of 22 years.

He began his professional career at Doral Arrowwood, a hotel and conference center in Westchester County, New York, but his first experience with his own culinary business began at the age of 22 opening a gourmet store in New York City called Gianluca’s Salumeria. This business flourished and spun off a very successful catering business.  While owning his own businesses, he honed his restaurant skills as the Manager of a fine dining Italian restaurant in Westchester County, New York before moving to Keene, New Hampshire, in the heart of New England where his wife Lindy grew up, to pursue his dream of a Mediterranean style restaurant.  

Luca has always had a love for entertaining through his food so Luca has his own weekly talk radio show, What’s Cooking with Luca Paris, and has had such notable guests as Mary Ann Esposito, host of Ciao Italia and will be a featured chef on an upcoming episode of Ciao Italia. Luca has been a featured chef in the national culinary magazine Culinary Trends. He is a monthly guest on “Cook’s Corner” segment on ABC's WMUR Channel 9 in New England. Luca is also the host of his own cooking show, also titled A Culinary Journey with Luca Paris, locally produced for Cheshire TV, the local cable access station for Keene and surrounding towns and can be seen in the Manchester, New Hampshire area and around the country on cable access stations. His show is one of the most downloaded shows by cable access stations around the nation. Luca has created his own Culinary Journey You Tube Channel, where all the episodes from his TV show can be seen. Luca was also a featured chef on the Resort Network in 2008 and 2009 and is a Chef Ambassador and spokesman for Roland Foods, doing live cooking demonstrations and cooking features on the Roland Foods You Tube channel. Most recently, Chef Luca was selected to compete on the new Food Network show, Guy's Grocery Games, which aired in December 2013 and he won! In 2011 Luca was selected as a New Hampshire Celebrity Chef and nominated for Restaurateur of the year. Luca loves to entertain while teaching about culinary arts. His philosophy is that food should be fun and entertaining and some of the best dishes come from the mistakes! He begins filming his new show, Kids in the Kitchen with Luca Paris, in January 2014.

In addition to his culinary accomplishments, Luca is a serious community supporter and an advocate for charitable organizations. He was on the board of directors of the Keene Chamber of Commerce, and was instrumental in promoting several local restaurants in a special week-long television segments on the local ABC affiliate. He was a founder of the “Keene Snow and Ice Festival” and the reinvented “Taste of Keene” event which supported Meals on Wheels for the elderly. In 2011 and 2012, Luca organized Keene Restaurant week, bringing local restaurants together. Luca has also taught adult culinary courses and has been a guest lecturer at Keene State College. He supports a culinary scholarship that he created, “The Culinary Journey Scholarship Fund,” to help a local high school student going to hospitality or culinary school. He will be teaching classes at the famed Stonewall Kitchen in Maine in the summer of 2014.

Luca was awarded the top honor of New Hampshire Chef of the Year from the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association for 2013.

Luca feels he has just begun his culinary journey and enjoys sharing it with guests and audiences everywhere and is looking forward to his next adventure.
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Culinary CPR: Lamb Meatball Sliders on Naan Bread with Warm Chickpea Salad
In this segment, Chef Luca Paris joins Dr. Mike to discuss his latest creation for Culinary CPR: Lamb Meatball Sliders on Naan Bread with Warm Chickpea Salad.


Serves 2 to 4

For the kefta:
  • 3 tablespoons minced red onions
  • 3 tablespoons minced herbs (mix of Italian parsley, cilantro and mint)
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-pound ground lamb or beef
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
For the yogurt sauce:
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon minced herbs (mix of Italian parsley, cilantro and mint)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste
  • Pinch of kosher salt

For the chickpeas:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon minced red onion
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 teaspoon harissa paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin (preferably toasted and ground yourself)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika) or paprika
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced herbs (mix of Italian parsley, cilantro and mint) for garnish

To serve:

Store-bought naan breads.

For the kefta, toss the onions, minced herbs, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater blade (or a large mixing bowl) and mix until combined. Add the ground lamb and beat until all of the ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minute. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to an hour while you finish getting everything else ready for dinner.

Grab a handful of meat, form into an oblong, sausage-like shape. Repeat with remaining meat. (You can also form them into any shape you like, such as flat patties, meatballs, or torpedoes, and cook them skewered or un-skewered.)

Heat a large griddle or grill pan over medium-high and generously coat with cooking oil. Once the oil is sizzling, add the skewers and cook until deep golden brown on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until meat is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more.

For the yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt, herbs, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

For the chickpeas, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes, followed by the garlic for another 20 seconds or so. Add the chickpeas, harissa, cumin, pimentón and a generous pinch of salt. Pour in the chicken stock and increase heat to high; simmer until the mixture is almost dry.

Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning. Drizzle with additional olive oil before serving.

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