Lamb is a favorite at my house. Fortuitously, lamb is also this week’s selection to celebrate spring holidays as Cook the Book Fridays cooks through the last spring season from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. This week’s recipe covers the full menu: Roast Lamb with Braised Vegetables and Salsa Verde.
Sourcing the lamb shoulder was a bit challenging. These days, according to the butcher at several local grocery chains, most lamb comes in pre-packaged. That means instead of a whole shoulder, the store is shipped packages of shoulder chops. Just as I decided we would butterfly and grill a leg of lamb instead and only follow the recipe for the braised vegetables and salsa verde, my ever-resourceful husband located a whole lamb shoulder at a more urban meat market not too far away.
Our whole shoulder had some extra bony parts that needed to be separated (we think it was the top part of the ribs). They aren’t very meaty but will add lots of flavor to a lamb stock – coming to my kitchen some time soon.
This dinner was very easy to put together – and impressive enough for company. Slits in the lamb are stuffed with garlic and anchovies before roasting the lamb for a few hours in a pan with white wine to keep things moist. I felt I could have used much less liquid for the same effect. The toughest part was carefully flipping the lamb twice without not having it splash down into its wine bath, making a big mess.
While the lamb roasts, we cut up a variety of vegetables to braise in butter and water (I was out of chicken stock). Baby potatoes, carrot rounds, parsnip batons and turnip wedges cooked with some sautéed shallots and sprigs of thyme. I usually steam or roast my vegetables, so I was happy to learn this easy and delicious technique.
While the lamb roasts, I also put together the salsa verde. You can use any variety of herbs. I used parsley, sage, tarragon and oregano (the last two from my herb garden). Lemon zest, green olives, capers, garlic, more shallot and a large dose of olive oil complement the herbs to create a lovely sauce.
When everything is done, this is served in shallow bowls: vegetables and their flavorful liquid provide the base for chunks of tender lamb. Each guest can spoon salsa verde over the lamb and vegetables to taste.
We enjoyed this one though I’m more likely to repeat the braised vegetables or the salsa verde than the roast lamb shoulder. This time around, I skipped the Panisse Puffs which were a spectacular failure when I made them back in July 2017. With leftovers, I might try to make socca – chickpea pancakes – to sop up the tasty juices.
The lamb meal was much more successful that last week’s Salmon Burgers from Dorie Greenspan’s newest book Everyday Dorie. It’s not that we didn’t like the burgers exactly, but we felt like there are better uses for fresh wild salmon. The flavors and texture were nice enough, but when salmon is $17 a pound, I’d much rather eat that fillet grilled. I think we’d have liked these just as much if I’d used canned wild salmon. I might even try that another time.
I sautéed the first batch of burgers in a non-stick cast-iron grill pan where it stuck in all the grooves. That happens with everything I cook in that pan, not sure why. For the second batch, I switched to my cast-iron skillet with much better results — more surface area to sear plus no sticking.
I forgot to make the pickled onions, but the burgers tasted good on Martin’s potato rolls topped with sliced avocado with the recommended cole slaw on the side.
The salmon burgers were good, just not good enough to repeat with fresh salmon.
The lamb recipe can be found on page 203 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen and the salmon burgers are on page 174 of Everyday Dorie. If you’re curious what the other members of Cook the Book Fridays thought of these recipes, check out their posts following links for lamb here and salmon burgers here.
We have another winner in the ongoing tale of cooking from Dorie Greenspan’s new book Everyday Dorie. With this installment, a double-crust of puff pastry is stuffed with thinly sliced potatoes, garlic, herbs and cream. What could be wrong with that?
I will quibble with labeling this one as anything close to an “everyday” dish. It’s not hard to prepare, but it needs to cook for a looooong time. I didn’t read the recipe thoroughly and didn’t start early enough to accommodate the 2 hour cooking/resting time required AND eat it for that night’s dinner. I can say that it’s really good reheated the next day and the one after that, so it must be spectacular fresh from the oven. With all the cream, it’s also rather rich for every day.
Company-worthy, potato tourte is a drop-dead gorgeous. The burnished crust is the perfect advertisement for the tender melting potatoes inside.
Though the recipe doesn’t specify, I’m glad I opted for a deep tart pan instead of the usual shallow one I use. Two pounds of potatoes makes a thick pile of potatoes. If I’d used the shallower pan, only half the potatoes would have fit.
We ate this for lunch with a leafy salad and for dinner with duck confit and asparagus. There’s a little bit left that we’ll try with breakfast. Suiting any meal might be an alternate definition of everyday.
March came in like a lion this year! On Monday, Mother Nature dropped just over a foot of snow, just in time for the annual Town Election. School was cancelled and the library was closed, but the election went on. Kudos to Howard for waking up early enough to snow blow a clear path to the road so I could be on time for my all-day shift as an Election Inspector. Despite the weather, once the snow stopped, we had higher-than-projected turnout. Democracy in action!