There is little fussing required in preparing arrosticini—the long, thin, and mouthwatering skewers of lamb that are famous in Abruzzo. As purists will tell you, the only things you really need to put on these lamb skewers are olive oil and salt—and usually this would be done after cooking (unless you are using an iron grill, in which case you will need to coat the meat in some olive oil before cooking so it doesn't stick to the pan). Using a branch of rosemary to brush the olive oil on the cooked meat is a very traditional way to transfer a little aromatics to the meat. And for those who like a little spice, it's not uncommon to add some chile pepper flakes at the end.
A note on the portions: Italians would usually have this following antipasto. Depending on whether you serve this on its own or with an abundant antipasto, this amount could serve 4 to 6 people. —Emiko
4 to 6
branch fresh rosemary
extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Bash the rosemary branch with the palm of your hand on a chopping board and stick it in a small bowl with the olive oil and a few grinds of black pepper. Leave to infuse while you prepare the lamb.
Thread the cubes of lamb onto long skewerss to make about 16 sticks. Drizzle the meat with some of the olive oil to coat lightly.
Sear the lamb sticks over a high flame on an iron grill and cook about 1 minute on each side, until the meat is browned (not burnt) and develops a little crust. Remove from the heat and place on a serving plate.
Immediately season with salt and, if desired, a pinch of chile pepper flakes. Brush the lamb skewers with the remaining olive oil, using the rosemary branch as a brush. Serve hot with a glass of red wine and crusty country-style bread drizzled with olive oil. (And eat these with your hands!)
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.