For nearly three decades the April columns have included recipes about lamb. I’d love to hear which one is your favorite recipe from the Seasonal Chef. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once spring has arrived, the delicate flavor and tender texture of grass-fed lamb is fitting to prepare with fresh herbs to create a delightful dining experience.
Threading the butterflied lamb together with long metal skewers not only makes it easier to handle on the grill but also allows the meat to cook evenly. Adjust the herbs according to what’s available in your garden or at the market. Be adventurous and pop the capers to scatter on the slices of lamb. Use this clever technique to freshen up other recipes.
When time is limited, make loin lamb chops. Be sure to bring the chops to room temperature and have the skillet very hot before searing them. Count two 1-inch-thick chops per person.
Sesame ginger green beans are the perfect vegetable to serve with lamb; add baked or roasted potatoes to complete the main course. Bordeaux is my choice of wine to serve with lamb, but Pinot Noir is equally delicious. Bon appétit!
Leg Of Lamb With Lemon And Garlic, Garnished With ‘Popped’ Capers
1, 5- to 6-pound leg of lamb, trimmed, boned and butterflied (Have the butcher bone and butterfly it)
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
Grated zest of 2 lemons
About 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons coarse salt
About 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 long metal skewers
2 lemons, juiced
1/4 to 1/3 cup safflower oil
1/2 cup capers, drained and patted dry
About 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish
At least one hour before cooking, (or longer) trim off excess connective issue and fat from butterflied lamb.
Place the lamb in a large glass or ceramic dish and with the tip of a small knife, poke 1-half-inch slits in the meat.
Rub garlic/herb paste into the slits and all over the lamb.
Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for one hour. If marinating for longer, refrigerate, then bring to room temperature.
Working with four long metal skewers, secure the loose flaps of the meat by running two skewers lengthwise “threading” the meat onto them and add two skewers crosswise to bunch the lamb together for even cooking.
Preheat grill to high. Or until the coals are white hot. [If roasting, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.]
Lightly oil the grill rack, grill lamb (covered if using a gas grill) about 10 to 12 minutes per side or until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 125 to 130 degrees F for medium rare or according to personal preference.
Transfer the lamb to a cutting board, drizzle with lemon juice, tent with foil, and let stand for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet over high heat, add oil and when the oil is very hot—but not smoking—pat capers very dry with paper towels and add them to the oil and fry until they are popped and crisp, about one to two minutes.
Transfer to paper towels and drain.
Toss capers and parsley together.
Cut lamb into slices, transfer to platter, drizzle accumulated juices on the board over the meat and scatter capers and parsley on top.
Garnish platter with sprigs of rosemary and serve at once.
Seared Baby T-Bone Loin Lamb Chops
8 T-bone lamb chops, trimmed of excess fat, edges scored
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
Sea salt for searing
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
About 2 tablespoons cognac
1/4 cup grainy Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons salted roasted sunflower seeds coarsely ground
About 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, soft
A fistful of flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
Rub chops with herbs de Provence and pepper.
Let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a dry seasoned skillet over high heat and sprinkle pan with salt. When the salt pops, sear the edges and sides of the chops until crusty brown on outside and rare on inside. Transfer to an ovenproof pan and lightly tent with foil.
Wipe out excess salt in the pan, add oil, reduce the heat and sauté garlic until soft and translucent, about two minutes.
Raise the heat, add cognac, ignite, and when flames subside, add pinch of herbs de Provence and sunflower seeds.
Add just enough stock to create a sauce.
Swirl in butter, taste and adjust the seasonings.
Just before serving, add parsley and stir to blend.
Meanwhile, reheat chops in oven about three minutes. Spoon sauce on the chops and serve at once.
Sesame Ginger Green Beans
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1-and-1/2-inch fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or raw sesame oil
1 large clove garlic, peeled
1 pinch Cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
About 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Optional crushed red pepper flakes
1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds green beans, washed and trimmed, blanched
Working in the blender, add lemon juice, ginger, sesame oil, garlic, and pepper and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Reserve until serving time.
In a saucepan of boiling water, blanch the beans until they are crunch tender, or done according to personal preference.
Drain well, drizzle dressing over the beans, toss, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.