Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Roasted Leg of Lamb with Pomegranate, Garlic & Herbs – Happy Easter Indeed

I’ve done more than a few lamb dishes dedicated to Easter, but inexplicably have never posted one for a whole leg of lamb. It’s such a classic Easter menu option, and when prepared using this method, makes for a very user-friendly hunk of meat. 

The key here is removing the bone, and replacing it an extremely flavorful wet rub. You have two options here; the easy way, or the fun way. You can go to a butcher and buy a ready-to-roast, boned and butterflied leg of lamb. They’re not cheap, but they’ll happily butterfly, trim, and tie it to your specifications. Or, you could watch the next video I’ll post on Friday, and see how easy it is to remove yourself.

Either way, once the bone is out, you’re free to season in any one of a thousand different ways. I highly recommend this particular combination, as the pomegranate molasses does magical things. If you can't find it near you, go online and get some, or follow this link and make your own using pomegranate juice. You’ll be so glad you did.

If you plan on doing a leg of lamb for Easter, I hope you give this fabulous recipe a try, and also check out the next video, so you can butcher the leg yourself. You’ll save a few bucks, and that means more chocolate bunnies. Stay tuned, and as always, enjoy!


Ingredients for 1 leg of lamb (about 8 portions)
1 leg of lamb (without the shank), boned, and butterflied
For the wet rub:
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
4 cloves coarsely minced garlic
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp Aleppo pepper, or other red pepper flakes to taste
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried mint

*Marinate lamb overnight, and roast at 350F. for about 1 3/4 hours, or until the internal temperature of 135-140F. is reached, for medium-rare to medium.

Monday, April 14, 2014

“Quick Cured” Salmon – 3 Minutes? But I Want it Now!

Whenever I hear people criticizing millennials for being self-absorbed, having short attentions spans, and for expecting to get what they want, exactly when they want it, I think to myself, “Hey, that sounds like my generation!” Well, if that’s the case, then they’re (and we’re) going to love this quick-cured salmon technique.

While the process is incredibly simple, the potential variations are endless. Whenever I show a new technique, I usually keep things simple, as to not distract people, but whether you’re talking about the brine, or post-cure seasonings, this is something that begs for adaptation.

Smoked salt, chipotle, or smoked paprika could be used before or after the cure to make things a little loxier, and don’t even get me started on the herbs. After the 3-minute cure, you can sprinkle your slices with dill, tarragon, chervil, and/or thyme, before the refrigeration stage. Speaking of impatient millennials; this is technically ready to eat after the three minute dunk, but you’ll enjoy this much more if you thoroughly chill it first.

Besides the flavorings, you can also play around with how thin/thick you slice the salmon, as well as how long you brine it. For me, if I slice the fish about 1/4-inch thick, three minutes is just about the perfect cure time for my desired texture and saltiness. However, you should experiment. Longer curing times, or thinner slices will result in a firmer, saltier product.

Of course, all that experimenting is going to make you hungry, and you’ll still need to decide how you’re going to serve it. I’ve suggested three delicious directions herein, but I’m fully confident you’ll come up with some stellar spin-offs as well. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

FOOD SAFETY NOTE: Much like rare meat, oysters, and raw eggs, if you’re concerned about the safety of eating homemade, cured salmon, you should do some research, and decide for yourself if it’s worth the risk. This technique works great with frozen salmon, which apparently kills potential parasites, so that’s one option. Anecdotally, I can tell you I’ve done this, and similar procedures, countless dozens of times with fresh salmon ("sushi grade" from a reputable, local purveyor), and have lived to tell the tale. Good luck.


Brine for to cure about 1 pound of salmon:
2 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 cup Kosher salt – I used Diamond Crystal brand
1/3 cup sugar

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easter Eggshell Cupcakes!

My lovely and talented friends at Allrecipes.com have come up with a way to combine two of my all-time favorite things; colored Easter eggs and cupcakes! Okay, so the first part of that wasn't true, but neither was the second part. However, if you're into this kind of seasonal foodcraft, and apparently many of you are, then I think this would make a brilliant addition to your Easter baskets. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Grilled Brie & Pear Sandwich and a Great Excuse to Make One

This grilled brie and pear sandwich is dedicated to National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, which happens every April 12, thanks mostly to bored food bloggers, and cheese industry marketing cartels…I’m looking at you, Wisconsin. 

No matter its origins, this cheesy, savory/sweet, flavor bomb is probably my favorite non-traditional grilled cheese sandwich.

If you’re going to do this, don’t get scared and omit the pepper and thyme. This is required to tip the sweet/savory scale toward the later. Just add a tiny bit your first time, and work up from there. By the way, this grilled cheese was inspired by a cold pear and brie sandwich I had at a cafĂ© many years ago, and I’ve been doing it hot ever since.

Butter is kind of a key here. It looks like a lot, but you want a seriously crispy crust to fully enjoy the soft, warm cheese and sweet pear. So, if you’re celebrating National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, like any normal person who spends any time on Twitter is, then I hope you consider giving this buttery beauty a try. Enjoy!