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Week 3 Finalists: Your Best Grilled Lamb

July 8, 2009 • 0 Comments


Recipe 1: Grilled Blade Chops over Greek Salad by Helen

If you have never cooked lamb blade chops before, here's your excuse to go out and buy some. This dish is simple, lush and fresh: summer grilling at its finest. Helen advises "aggressive" seasoning throughout, and we heartily agree -- the right amount of salt and pepper will make this sing. And you will be similarly rewarded if you put together the Greek salad about an hour ahead of time, allowing the vegetables time to release some of their own juices into the dressing. We used about 1/2 cup sliced red onion (more would overwhelm the other salad ingredients) and added 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Slicing the red onion in such delicate half moons allows the salt and vinegar of the dressing to soften the bite. It also showcases Merrill's beautiful knife skills. Indeed, much of this recipe is chopping!

 

Amanda received these salt packed capers as a gift. Now that's a good friend.

Dicing a tomato is a great way to see if your knives are appropriately sharp. If the blade slices easily through the skin (like buttah!), you're in pretty good shape. That said, remember that sharp knives are actually safer, and to keep those steels handy!

 

The cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes are all chopped to similar sizes, but you can vary this if you'd like.

 

As this dressing is best when it's heavy on the vinegar, instead of the usual 1:3 ratio, we used a 2:3 ratio of red wine vinegar to extra virgin olive oil.

 

Though we didn't add the feta to the salad now, we did crumble it so we'd have nothing to do once the meat was grilled!

 

The higher your hand from the meat, the more even the seasoning!

As the meat was finishing up on the grill, we checked our salad. The onions had softened a bit, and the flavors had melded beautifully.

 

Lucious, and rested, lamb.

 

Finished. Delicious!

 

Recipe 2: Grilled Rack of Lamb Asian Salad by Tom Kelly

Having never grilled an entire rack of lamb before, we were excited to try this technique. We had also never seen lamb combined with Southeast Asian ingredients, a pairing that intrigued us. Happily, Tom Kelly's approach is right on: the acid and heat of the chili and lime dressing cut through the richness of the lamb, already sweet and a little spicy because of the marinade, which caramelizes as the lamb sits on the grill. We found that indirect heat was best to avoid flareups, and because our fish sauce was particularly pungent, we added another few tablespoons of lime juice and an extra teaspoon of sugar to balance the flavors in the dressing. This makes enough to serve 4 to 6, depending on the size of the chops.

We halved the quantity of lamb called for in the recipe.

 

Although it wasn't specified, we lightly crushed the garlic before adding it to the marinade.

 

We also made sure to break up the curry paste.

 

In yet another showcase of Merrill's notable knife skills, she deftly "peels" the ginger of its skin by shaving of a thin layer from all sides.

 

Then she slices it into even planks, and eventually, into match sticks, then minces it. Talk about technique!

 

We used a plastic bag for marinating, as the rack of lamb was too awkward to fit easily into a bowl.

 

This went into the fridge for about 4 hours. While it was marinating, we made the dressing and washed the lettuce, leaving very little to do after the lamb was cooked!

 

As our fish sauce was a touch on the pungent side, we ended up using the juice of two limes.

 

The marinade, sans fish sauce.

 

The surprisingly mild habanero we used instead of an Asian chili. It worked nicely, adding a touch of heat to the dressing. For more on how to efficiently cut peppers of any kind, see Merrill's Cooking from Every Angle on the subject!

 

Our bibb lettuce was beautiful, but very dirty. We let it soak in the water for quite some time.

 

After draining off the excess marinade, it was straight to the grill.

 

We got some color on the meat, and then moved it to indirect heat, for gentle and even cooking.

 

To finish the dish, we plated some bibb leaves, and lightly dressed them.

 

Then we sliced our (perfectly pink) lamb chops.

 

And arranged them on the plate. We drizzled a touch more dressing over it all, and sprinkled with chopped cilantro.

Beautiful! Delicious!

 

 

 

 

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