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Story - Food

Aug 24, 2017 11:10 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

A Winning Menu For Labor Day: Shrimp Cocktail, Lamb Kebabs, Couscous

Aug 28, 2017 10:39 AM

Here’s a winning menu for the Labor Day weekend. Start off the dinner with cold shrimp cooked by your local fish market and cocktail sauce. Add extra fresh lemon juice and grated horseradish to the sauce until it’s really spicy or concoct your own sauce.

For the main event, lamb kebabs with the unique flavor combination of turmeric and zahtar paired with garlic and balsamic vinegar renders the meat tasty and toothsome. If large dark green Poblano peppers are at the farm stand, add them for a mild kick or “zing” to the grilled vegetable kebabs.

Place the lamb kebabs on the grill after the vegetables to ensure even cooking. Lamb tastes best if it’s medium rare (still juicy). Vegetables are best if they remain slightly crunchy.

Present the lamb kebabs with mushrooms, peppers, and onions over a bed of whole wheat couscous to catch all the delicious meat and vegetable juices. Fresh beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes cut into thick slices and garnished with chopped fresh basil, parsley or mint is a good side dish candidate to round out the main course.

Dessert anyone? Present an assortment of cheeses, garnished with fresh figs, plums, grapes, assorted nuts, and cookies for the finish. Pour a chilled Pinot Noir throughout the dinner. Bon appétit!

Grilled Lamb Kebab’s With Mushrooms, Onions, And Peppers(Serves 6)About 2 to 2 and 1/2 pounds well-trimmed boneless leg of lamb cut in 1-and-1/2-inch cubes

2 large cloves garlic, minced

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

About 1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, plus extra for drizzling

1 and 1/2 tablespoons zahtar

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Grated zest of 1 lemonFor the vegetables:2 large green/red bell peppers (or Poblano) cut into 1-inch triangles

3 medium red onions cut into quarters or eighths

24 to 30 small mushroom caps (or 6 large mushrooms, quartered)

Juice of 1 large lemon

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar for drizzling

About 1 teaspoon zahtar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Chopped fresh mint and parsley leaves for garnishTo prepare:Working in a nonreactive bowl, add lamb and garlic and drizzle with oil and vinegar, toss until the meat glistens.

In a small bowl, mix zahtar, turmeric, and lemon zest together, sprinkle over the meat and toss again. Marinate at room temperature for at least two hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before grilling.

Prepare the peppers and onions, drizzle with oil and vinegar, and toss with zahtar, salt and pepper. Roll mushrooms first in lemon juice and then in oil/vinegar and spices. Thread the peppers and onions alternating on a skewer, and thread the mushrooms on another one and set aside on a tray.

Preheat the grill to medium high.

Remove the lamb from the seasonings and discard the seasonings. Thread the lamb onto long metal skewers and set aside on a tray.

Grill the vegetables, rotating the skewers often, until they are crunch tender, about five to seven minutes. Grill the lamb about three inches from the heat, rotating often, until they are still juicy and rare inside, about three to five minutes or according to personal preference. Transfer to a platter and let rest five to 10 minutes.

With a large table fork, slide lamb and vegetables off the skewers and arrange them in alternating rows on a bed of couscous. Sprinkle chopped mint and parsley over the whole affair and tuck thyme sprigs at the end of the platter. Serve at once.Whole Wheat Couscous(Serves 6)2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or more if needed

1 big bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped

3 cups whole-wheat couscous

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 cups good quality chicken stock, boiling

Grated zest of half a lemon

About 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley plus extra for garnish

Few sprigs fresh thyme, leaves choppedTo prepare:In a large heavy saucepan over moderate high heat, coat the bottom with oil.

Add the scallions and sauté briefly. Add couscous, salt and pepper, and then hot stock. Stir well, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer about two to three minutes. Cover the pan and let stand about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every now and then until the liquid is absorbed. With a fork, add lemon zest, parsley and thyme, stir until well mixed. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Spoon the couscous onto a large serving platter. Arrange the lamb and vegetables on top to catch their delicious juices. Garnish the platter with mint, parsley, and sprigs of thyme.

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