Friday, March 16, 2012

Lamb with Roasted Jalapeno Harissa and Pearled Couscous

These days have been flying by, in a way that will never fail to amaze me. I didn't really connect that it was the middle of March until this morning, as I belatedly changed my clock radio for daylight savings and saw the date flashing as well, March 16th. The weather lately has seemed like an amazing gift, but in no way had I wrapped my head around the fact that spring was fast on my heels. But here we are, and I find more and more that instead of talking myself into embracing a day, I'm just rushed along into it and in a way that makes time just fly. And that's ok. That's the way spring should be.
Lamb is such a spring meal and with the shift in weather I've felt a shift in my taste buds as well. Roasts and stews and anything heavy or fatty is out. I'm craving salads, Mediterranean flavors, crispy veggies and puckery lemon. Cold hard cheeses like ricotta salata  and feta or chiffonade mint sprinkled over some pearl couscous with just a drizzle of olive oil and maybe a slab of grilled zucchini or eggplant. Perfection. But right now this is about lamb. And a delicious harissa.
Lamb Shoulder
1 lb. boneless lamb shoulder- trimmed of fat
2 Tbl. olive oil
1 tsp crushed rosemary
1 clove garlic- crushed
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered

1. Preheat oven to 400. In a plastic bag add in 1 Tbl olive oil, crushed garlic, rosemary, salt and lamb shoulder. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hr.

2. Set a saute pan over medium high heat. Add remaining Tbl oil and let heat but not smoke. Carefully place in the pan and let sear on all sides. Once that's done scatter the brussel sprouts around the pan. Place in the oven for 20 minutes then let sit on a cutting board for another 10. The inside should be nicely medium rare. (If that's not the way you prefer keep it in for another 2-3 minutes for medium). Once rested, slice into 1/2" rounds.

Roasted Jalapeno Harissa
2 jalapenos
1 c. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1 c. fresh spinach
1 clove garlic
1/4 c. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Over a gas stove or in an oven, quickly roast the jalapenos whole. See how to here. When done let steam in a paper bag for 10 minutes then peel the skin off as much as possible. Cut off the stem and slice in half. Discard the seeds (unless you like it spicy).

2. Add the jalapenos, garlic, cumin, coriander, parsley and spinach in a food process and combine. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper.

3. Toss over the sprouts and add a dollop on top of the lamb. Serve with pearled couscous.

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