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Villains Wicked Heroes, Atlanta

This braised lamb belly sandwich with mint yogurt and marinated vegetables, like all of the food at chef–owner Jason McClure’s sandwich shop, is named after real or fictional villains. The North African-inspired Mumm-Ra sandwich is named for the bad guy in the 1980s cartoon series Thundercats.

“He’s like a mummy until he wants to create some kind of issue with the Thundercats. Then he prays to his ancient evil Egyptian deities and becomes a hyper-stylized Egyptian super-villain,” McClure explained.

Originally, the sandwich had a Moroccan flair, with pickled apricots and a North African mustard. But no one was ordering it, McClure said, so he added mint yogurt and marinated vegetables.

“When we added some Greek elements to it, it seemed more like a gyro to customers, and that’s a selling point,” he said.

To make the dish, he rubs lamb belly in a proprietary Moroccan spice blend, although he said ras el hanout would be a suitable substitute. Then he braises it for about six hours with vinegar, citrus and onions. He cools the lamb belly and presses it between weighted sheet pans so it resembles pork belly more than a loose lamb belly. He stores it in the walk-in between the pans for six to eight hours.

To order, McClure fries the lamb to crisp it up and stuffs it in a leavened variation of warm pita bread, along with Greek yogurt flavored with mint and cumin and a salad of cucumber, tomato, red onion, and red and green bell pepper that is dressed with red wine vinegar, olive oil, cumin, oregano, chile flake, salt and pepper.

The sandwich sells for $11.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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