Friday, November 07, 2008

But Wait... There's More!

Normally I avoid featuring the same ingredient twice in a row, with the exception of no-brainers like summer tomatoes or corn. But I just couldn't get the lamb idea in its original form out of my head. It loitered, obdurate, mocking me, and demanded satisfaction. Fortunately, Fleisher's was open, and I had an appointment at the gallery, which is only a mile away. So I chatted with Josh, and bumped into two friends (I love small town life) and stocked up on chickens for the party on Saturday, brisket to make into pastrami, marrow bones, double-cut pork chops, and four beautiful lamb rib chops.

Upon return home, I trimmed the chops of all fat, vacuum-sealed them, and dropped them in a 51˚ C water bath for an hour. While they did their sous-vide thing, I pressure-cooked some Christmas lima beans with onion and guanciale, caramelized parsnips in a little olive oil, steamed our giant red mustard greens with fenugreek, cumin, and mustard seeds, and browned (in a little lamb fat with bits of guanciale) the 30%/70% feta/ricotta gnocchi I made yesterday, bound with 1% activa and piped onto parchment paper to set up in the fridge overnight.

Once the meat was ready, I puréed the greens and strained them. I added the parsnips (which had been off the heat) to the gnocchi, and also some peas just to warm through. Each chop got liberally brushed with a harissa tapenade (fresh harissa I made with toasted spices and oil, then folded into some of the tapenade gravy from last night) and wrapped tightly in an egg roll wrapper, then fried in a little oil for just enough to crisp the wonton skin- about 30 seconds per side. I pooled some green purée on each plate, scattered the gnocchi/parsnip/pea mixture around, added some beans, drained with a slotted spoon, and placed a crisp chopsicle in the middle.

What's funny is that this wasn't actually the original idea at all, outside of the fried chop with harissa tapenade. All the other stuff was totally different than I originally imagined, because we were out of yogurt, and I used the last of the preserved lemon for yesterday's lamb. (I did just make a new quart jar full, but it takes a month to get good.) But it did the job. Because it was a FRIED LAMB CHOP. And the other flavors- harissa, olives, sharp mustard, funky feta, earthy beans, sweet peas- all play exceptionally well with lamb, which was the idea. The cooking method ensured perfect doneness; they were like kalamata-merguez pudding pops with a crispy crust. And one was actually enough.

I almost didn't open any wine, since Milo has been waking up at 4:30 in the morning since we set the clocks back, and it's torture, especially since he hasn't really been getting back to sleep after he arrives in our bed. It's hellish, but he's really snuggly, and he pronounces gnocchi "yonkey" which is pretty cute. But fried lamb chops (did I mention them?) cry out for wine- big wine- in sultry, irresistable voices that will not be denied. As you can see, this meal was all about being bullied by lamb chops, without any choice in the matter. Deride my masculinity if you will, but my wife was pretty impressed, and she made noises that I enjoy. A 2000 Carver Sutro petite sirah was also euphonious with this food, though after the meat was gone it revealed itself to be still very tight and wanting of more cellar time. Having said that, I like the tannic austerity, since the nose in the last glass suggested that it might become too opulent; if the deep black fruit ever escapes the confines of that structure, it will be just another painted whore of a California wine. But I like its chances.

So, to reiterate, FRIED LAMB CHOPS.


cookiecrumb said...

"painted whore of a California wine"
As Robert Parker says, Fuck you. (Or it.)

Heather said...

The bite outta that thing looks like a mortal wound. I love it. I effing love it, in fact. Almost as much as I love yonkey.

Tonight I'm getting my groove back and am making steak and chanterelle pasties with veal demi gravy. But I might blog the meatloaf sammiches I've been eating while abroad instead. Haven't quite decided...

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Oh, I remember the 4:30 a.m. days... yonkey, almost, but doesn't quite, make up for it.

Those lamb chops probably do, though.

And I've been too busy chasin' wild Alaskans to do much cookin'.

Couldn't ya use some moose?

The Spiteful Chef said...

Fried lamb chop? It's not even something I've considered doing, and I've considered frying juuuuuust about everything else. Awesome idea. And the fact that your kid even mispronounces (cutely) gnocchi shows that he's leaps and bounds ahead of the other kids who pronounce gnocchi "macaroni!"

peter said...

CC: He's such a gigantic tool. Nobody should have that much power. He's like Dick Cheney, but for wine.

Heather: You're a broad? I thought you were some kind of wood-elf with chanterelles growing from her head.

Jen: I could most assuredly use some moose. Are you selling?

Kristie: I tried them wrapped in soba and egg wash, and then fried, but this way is better because the frying is just for the shell.

We Are Never Full said...

DUDE... nice idea w/ the wonton wrapper. months ago we did a fried lambchop (not w/ the wonton) and was blown away by the results. if you're curious:

but i gotta say, the idea of the wonton wrapper is genius. it prob. locks in the moisture and allows for less of a chance to fuck up the beautiful lamb meat.

nice one.

peter said...

Amy: Thanks. Yeah, the wrapper keeps the meat inside just right. I think I remember your post; I'll check it out.

cook eat FRET said...

i want a fleisher's
nashville is clueless

i wanta immersion circulator

activa... you and heather and krista are kicking my ass. i like made pea soup with ummm, 5 ingredients...