Warm Greek-Style Lamb Salad

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Warm Greek-Style Lamb Salad. I’ve posted about our Gourmet Club before; themed dinner parties where four couples cook. Apologies to hosts Ricki and John, I hijacked this evening’s theme because a shipment of Superior Farms American lamb was coming and, whoa, it was a generous supply. A rack, a leg and ground lamb. Ricki proclaimed “Patti Had A Little Lamb.” She’s always a source of hilarity.

Ricki conquered the rack (and produced Vietnamese Lamb Chops). Laura got the ground (for Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce appetizers). I claimed the leg for this salad. Marlene made lamb-less yet yummy strawberry and rhubarb crumble.

Shhh… leading up to this, I was lamb-insecure. (I never cook it. Rarely cook any red meat. I’m cheap, basically.)

Then it struck me. As a huge fan of all things Greek, and proud owner of a new bottle of Greek extra virgin olive oil (Arianna Trading Company, good oil from college friend, George), plus a plethora of convenient herbs in tubes (thanks, Gourmet Garden), my vision of an awesome Warm Lamb Salad evolved. Dinner can’t ALL be meat dishes. This was gonna be A-OK.

{We food bloggers, on occasion, receive product from companies. They want us to try their stuff and write about it. I say “OK” to things that work into my world. The lamb and herbs obviously did.}

Party time! Ricki lit the barbecue, then we savored more wine and Laura’s meatballs. When I checked the BBQ, the gauge read 700 degrees. A look under the hood produced a bed of flames. John (always calm) decided that was not a good thing, and became Fire Marshall. Once the grill cooled to medium, Larry claimed the job of Grill Master Because He Is A Man. Most of the rest of us hovered, advised, supervised, cajoled, questioned, nagged. Larry got cranky. We left him alone. Not for long, however, as the meat being grilled was for MY salad. I jumped back into the fray. More advisors returned. Some voted to cut into the meat to check doneness. Others said NO CUTTING, only the meat thermometer! When the meat hit the desired 140 degrees, the following recipe ensued.

Warm Greek-Style Lamb Salad

MARINADE (day before):

  • Juice from 2 fresh lemons
  • 2 tablespoons EACH minced garlic, chopped fresh parsley and chopped fresh basil (or a 1-inch squeeze EACH of Gourmet Garden condensed herbs)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin Greek olive oil (I use Arianna Trading Company)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Pinch of kosher salt

In a glass bowl, whisk together all ingredients.  Add 2 1/2 lbs. boneless leg of lamb, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 12 hours.

SALAD INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 heads butter lettuce, washed and torn to bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, quartered and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 14-oz. can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts

VINAIGRETTE DRESSING:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon EACH minced garlic, chopped fresh parsley and chopped fresh basil (or 1/2-inch squeeze EACH of Gourmet Garden condensed herbs)
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin Greek olive oil (I use Arianna Trading Company)
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

In a jar, combine all ingredients and shake well.  Taste, adjust flavorings to your preference – this is a tangy dressing. Refrigerate until use.

Grilling for the saladTO PREPARE SALAD:

Heat grill to medium.  Cut leg of lamb into a few pieces, to be able to evenly grill different thicknesses of the meat.  For MEDIUM RARE, grill each to reach a middle temperature of 140 degrees (adjust, if you prefer meat rare to medium). Some of us like rare meat, as you can see in the photo.

Remove meat from grill to a plate, cover with foil and allow to rest at least 10 minutes.

Arrange greens, onions, cucumbers and artichokes on a platter. Slice lamb into bite-sized pieces and arrange atop salad. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Shake the jar of vinaigrette and drizzle over all. Serves 8.

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