Tuesday, April 06, 2010


On Sunday we cobbled together a good group on rather short notice. We went back and forth during the week about whether we wanted to have a thing or not, and eventually decided to go for it. Not that we like people, really; I just wanted to show off the new kitchen. I did not have a ton of time to do anything ambitious, so we stuck to basics, centered around a beautiful local lamb leg. I pulled it out of the fridge in the morning and poked it all over with a paring knife, tucking pinches of rosemary and a garlic clove into each hole. Then I rubbed it with a freshly-ground mixture of coriander, cumin, 5-spice, coffee, smoked paprika, oregano, marjoram, thyme, lavender, fennel, and black pepper and let it sit, glistening, on the kitchen table until it was time to go on the fire.

My lovely family peeled all of the hard-boiled eggs we had dyed earlier in the week, and we sliced and de-yolked them. I made a simple mayonnaise and mashed the yolks together with some of it, along with paprika, curry powders, salt, mustard, and a little kimchi brine. We piped the filling into the halves and anointed the plate with parsley, garlic chives, and more parika.

Meanwhile, I steamed and mashed a ton of Yukon gold potatoes, beating in an egregiously splendid quantity of good olive oil and a little melted butter along with ramps, nettles, and garlic chives I had just picked from the spot where all three plants thrive in close proximity for extra convenience. I had thought to make gnocchi, but then thought instead about doing less work and just spread the spuds in a baking dish, covered them with panko, and put it in the oven on low until it was time to eat. I also braised a head of cabbage left over from the pickling class with cider vinegar, wine, and some beet greens also left from the class.

When the fire was hot, I put the leg right over it and covered the grill. After about 20 minutes, I flipped it over and covered it for another 20. Then I checked it, and just let it sit in there some more while the fire died down. After about 70 minutes, a thermometer read 120˚ at the bone so I took it out and let it sit on a board while we got the other stuff together. There was a lovely gradient of doneness from crisp and smoky on the outside to luscious rare lamb pudding in the middle. There was barely any left by the end of the meal. I also made tapenade with preserved lemon and a pesto from all of the greens in the yard and garden: radichhio, pan di zucchero, chives, ramps, oregano, parsley, chervil, dandelion, and garlic mustard.

It all made for a compelling plate of food. We worked our way through some good wine, too; in particular a Mas de Gourgonnier rosé, which I always love (it's organic, too) and then a 1999 Ciacci Piccolomini "Vigna di Pianrusso" Brunello and, because this Provençal Carignan wasn't doing it for me (though it woke up the next day) a 2000 Clos du Marquis. Both reds had a suitably burly elegance that was well-suited to accompany a charred and bloody hunk of animal.

I did not make a blueberry tart for dessert, though in retrospect I really should have. We had a bunch of the coconut milk-based "ice cream" that our crew is all gaga over instead.


Julia said...

You wouldn't think that someone who referred to the rare part of a leg of meat as "lovely lamb pudding" was a vegetarian for a goodly part of his life. Right? This sounds like an incredible Easter meal. Mmm.

Heather said...

I can't believe you made Easter dinner on Passover.

I remember going to kindergarten on the day after Easter, and we were playing "farmer in the dell", and I had eaten so many deviled eggs (and candy) the day before that I projectile vomited into the middle of the dell. Yours, though? I'd swallow.

cook eat FRET said...

why does heather's comment sound obscene to me?

peter said...

Julia: The first meat I ate after the long hiatus was lamb.

Blanche: Remind me to tell you that joke.

Claudia: Because you have a filthy mind. And so does she.