This is the meal that never ends. Yes, it goes on...
Oh, rapturous joy, a sunny and eighty degree day here on the Shore. I imagine it is one of the very last we shall see on our doorstep until May, but I will take it without an ounce of remorse.
When the weather is warmer, we tend to think of cooling foods, and now that the days are getting a tad bit chillier as time goes on, our thoughts sway to the hardy foods — foods that satiate and placate our hunger while giving us fuel to perform whatever duties may lay ahead of us.
I, for one, am glad that one of my favorite foods is also one that lends itself well to the cooler month menus: lamb.
With a taste that is a touch gamier or richer than beef, it is not a sought after choice by many a carnivore. Personally, I am glad I’m the only one in the house who enjoys lamb. That simply means that on “lamb day,” there is more for me.
The lamb holds a special place in many cultures around the globe, and I am still surprised that so many Americans don’t care for it; a sentiment I share with tongue-in-cheek.
I have sat at many a table in restaurants where the lamb is served tasting as though it had soured the day before. I have personally prepared leg of lamb of which I am still ashamed.
Lamb is fickle meat and it must be treated gingerly and lovingly.
As I sat down to write this, I mused at the thought of me grilling through the winter, even with a foot of snow on the porch. That’s why I built the porch, so I wouldn’t be tracking through mud. Ergo, I grill all winter long and don’t have the luxury to make comments such as, “I guess this is the last time that I fire up the grill until next spring.”
Of course, with the “end of the world” just under two months away, I don’t have to worry too much about grills or porches, or lamb for that matter.
So for now, I will relish at the thought of grilling some beautiful lamb chops that I picked up from Doug at Minit Market on the island.
The grill was fired about 10 minutes ago, and the wood chunks that reside in the back right corner are starting to smolder. I can already smell it. With the lid closed, the large chunks will not catch on fire, so there’s no need to soak. In fact, if you read this column in the last six months, you know that I never soak my wood for smoking.
Watch any barbecue challenge on TV and tell me which one of those big players is using wet wood. They don’t.
So the grill is ready to go, and the lamb has been marinating for about four hours, which makes it just ready enough to go.
I open the bag and can immediately smell the fresh thyme quickly overruled by the fresh rosemary. Followed by the lemon, onion and olive oil, this is going to be fantastic.
And now that I am finished writing, I have to figure out something else that will keep me in the sun for one of the last sunny, warm days of 2012.
2 racks of lamb
1 cups EV Olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cups dry red wine
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium shallot, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
1 Tbsp. fresh coarse ground pepper
Step 1: Before you do anything else, decide on how much fat you want in the finished dish.
Step 2: If you want fat, which is ideal, as it will provide copious amounts of flavor, simply remove the silver skin from the rack (that iridescent white skin under the fat) as much as possible without damaging the meat.
Step 3: For the fatty version (pictured and soon after devoured), you are ready to go to Step 5. For fancy-schmancy lollipops proceed to Step 4.
Step 4: Proceed with the first two steps and then examine the eye of the rack of lamb
Step 5: Imagine a neat circle and cut off the excess fat in a curving fashion until you get to the rib bone
Step 6: Remove fat and feed it to dog
Step 7: For this fashion of lamb, I cut the rack into 4 equal pieces. Most racks will have seven long bones and one short, so just cut them evenly by thickness and you will be fine
Step 8: Combine remaining ingredients and toss lamb in
Step 9: Place in a container and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours if time permits. If you are hungry, no one will call the food police on you
Step 10: Fire up the wood grill, or if you are a grill cheater like me just throw some dry chunks of quality smoking wood on the grill
Step 11: Remove the lamb from the marinade and grill until it has reached the temperature of your liking
Step 12: Remove from grill and allow to slack out for 10 minutes to let the meat “relax” a little bit
Step 13: Serve with a red wine demi or other sauce of your choice