Tuesday, July 22, 2014

lamb, peach, olive. CHARCOAL.

I have not cooked in three months.  This is true.  How did this happen!? I'm quite ashamed of myself. It's been way too long.  I'm in a different place, new kitchen, and new goods.  Quite frankly, it took me a hot second to figure out how to navigate the kitchen...I'm still not used to it! But hey...everyone needs to get used to new surroundings.  On the bright side, I now have a PORCH.  A GRILL (albeit mini).  AND a mini garden!! Some items that were used today....and tomatoes to come.  I can't tell you how excited I am.  

It's a whole new stainless steel.  Green thumb may actually be a part of my life now if I find I have a knack for it!  Sadly, I don't have as much access to all of the fun stuff that I had in the city (you don't know what you got til it's gone...thanks Joni), so now I have to be REALLY creative.  

Regardless, it's good to be back in the kitchen.  I can't remember the last time I grilled...let alone on a charcoal grill.  Oh wait, yes I do.  College.  Burgers and beer bongs.  Clearly shouldn't use that as a barometer of cooking.  So let's just say this was a first!

First thing I saw at the store...yes, the store. No more markets. So sad! I digress....first thing I saw - PEACHES.  So good.  I love peaches and haven't gotten my fair share of them at all.  And what is better to grill than peaches? Lots of things, but that's not the point.  I was on the hunt for duck, although this lovely establishment had no duck...so I opted for lamb.  Of course, I befriended to butcher, Mr. Caputo, who promised he would give me a butchering lesson.  I'll believe it when I see it!

Lamb, peaches...olives?! Sure!! Why not! I figured I could do something with it.  And we all know I have enough spices in my life to come up with something. But I didn't want to go too heavy handed on the spices...I wanted to let the grill flavor shine on it's own. So that's what I did.  

Sidebar: I have a wood porch. And a charcoal grill. And I live in a wood home.  This was a very exhilarating experience for me to say the least! 

On we go!

Rack of Lamb, Grilled Peach & Olive, Szechuan Peppercorn
Serves 4
2 racks of lamb, trimmed of fat
2 peaches, halved and pitted
1/4 cup chopped olives, preferably castelvetrano
1 serrano pepper, minced
1 t szechuan peppercorns, crushed
1 t apple cider vinegar
2 sprigs fresh mint
Olive oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh ground pepper

Alright.  This is super easy.  But delicious!! I'd suggest cutting your racks in half just for ease of cooking.  They can be served whole, but slicing leads to a better presentation.  On we go! Season heavily with salt and pepper, and allow the racks to come almost to room temperature.

While that is happening, light you're grill! If you have a gas grill, you're lucky.  Put that 'isn on medium.  If not, light that charcoal up! I'd say you want it to be about 400F, but I have no thermometer with my little grill.  Looks like this blog is taking a turn for the worst....moving on! With charcoal, light and let the fire die down.  It's better to cook with dry heat than anything else.  Once that happen, place the lamb fat side down on the grill.  Allow the fat to render (it will flare up), and get a nice crispy exterior.  About 6 minutes.  Flip and get a nice char on the remaining side.

Cook for about 5 more minutes and remove from heat - allow to rest.  While resting, cook the peaches!!  Season with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Place cut side down on the grill and allow to caramelize a little bit.  Cook until there are some nice char marks, flip and cook for about a minute more.

Once the peaches are finished, prepare the olive and peach salad.  For presentation, you can sliver off the charred side of the peach, but it's not necessary.  Chop the peaches into nicely sized chunks, and toss in with the olives.  Drizzle with about 1 T of olive oil, and toss with a pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper, the serrano, vinegar and the mint.  Place in the fridge to chill for a bit!

PLATE!!! Slice each individual rib to serve.  Sprinkle all of the ribs with a tad bit of szechuan peppercorn.  Divide the peach salad atop each plate.  Prepare and devour.

Such a fun dish! Lamb had a great charcoal char on it (not lighter fluid mind you) but paired very well with the peach and olive salad.  Both are ingredients that would play well with lamb on it's own, so I figured, why not test it out together?! The chill on the salad was a nice place with the warm lamb and the "warmness" of the dish in general, especially with the grilling aspect.  The mint brightened up the whole dish as well.  Overall success!!

Cooking, it's good to see you again. It's been too long.