With the approach of spring, grilled lamb is a perfect way to celebrate the warmer weather. I thought the rustic flavor of the lame paired well with this lentil salad I’ve been making for years. In my opinion, lentils are basically the caviar of the legume family. Somehow they make beans seem much more elegant. When I did a year abroad in France, my host mother taught me this recipe and it’s been one of my favorite salads ever since.
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic
Juice and zest of 1 lemon, plus more for garnish
One lamb shoulder (or leg of lamb)
Heat your grill before cooking to medium-high heat.
Add the olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice and zest in a mortar and pestle (or food processor) and smash until it reaches a paste. Place the lamb on a sheet tray and rub the paste all over the lamb, getting into every inch of space. Set lamb aside to marinate for at least one hour; if time allows, you can marinate longer or overnight.
Place the lamb on grill directly over heat and cook for 20-30 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Then move to indirect heat and cook until the lamb reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
Allow the lamb to rest for 20 minutes for the juices to redistribute before carving.
recipe via Extra Virgin
1 1/2 cups (270g) French green lentils (preferably from Le Puy)
1 bay leaf
5 sprigs thyme
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
1 shallot, peeled*
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a handful of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
**A handy trick for cooking your lentils with cloves, taught to me by my French host mother: stick the cloves into the uncut shallot like a pin cushion. This will make for easy removal when the lentils are finished cooking.
Rinse the lentils and put them in a saucepan with plenty of lightly salted water, the bay leaf, shallot with the cloves, and thyme. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Add the finely diced vegetables and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the lentils are tender; be careful not to overcook them.
Drain the lentils well and remove the bay leaf, thyme, and shallot. Pour the lentils into a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil and vinegar while still warm, stirring to coat the lentils. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Add a few grinds of black pepper and mix in the parsley. Taste, and add additional salt, if desired. I serve the salad at room temperature or warm. The salad can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. Let it come to room temperature before serving.
Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the core
4 ounces pancetta, 1/4-inch-diced
1/4 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan, including some of the loose leaves, which get crispy when they’re roasted. Add the pancetta, olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, toss with your hands, and spread out in a single layer. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 to 30 minutes, until they’re tender and nicely browned and the pancetta is cooked. Toss once during roasting. Remove from the oven, drizzle immediately with the balsamic vinegar, and toss again. Taste for seasonings, and serve hot.
recipe via Ina Garten