From Lamb to Plate

16 Sep

Last weekend I had friends over for a nice dinner: a delicious whole leg of lamb (from a local farm, slaughtered and butchered by a friend just a few days before), a salad of wild arugula + homemade ricotta + roasted yellow nectarines, roasted eggplant with dry-farmed tomatoes and preserved lemon, and a platter of five kinds of figs. This is the story of the food:

The lamb was from Amador Grazers (all grass fed, no antibiotics or growth hormones). If you’re not squeamish about such things, you can see a photo of my friend slaughtering and butchering it here.

I made an herb paste of rosemary, thyme, black pepper, sea salt, and about a head of crushed garlic, and rubbed it on every surface of the leg:

I let it sit for a little under an hour while I preheated the oven to “425” (which in my oven is 350). I put the leg in and roasted it for about 90 minutes, occasionally checking the temperature. When the inside of the thickest part hit 130 (and the thinner areas were at 135), I took it out and let it rest half an hour before carving. It was absolutely delicious– moist and so flavorful. I probably could have even gone more rare:

While the lamb was resting I improvised a sauce: I deglazed lamb fat and crunchy bits from the pan by adding some red wine and briefly boiling, then tossed in four diced up really soft figs and some mint and simmered it for about 10 minutes to reduce it into a sweet, rich sauce.

Earlier, we’d made ricotta (milk, cream, salt, lemon juice — I’ve made it before), which went well with the especially spicy wild arugula and some yellow peaches I’d roasted in the oven while the lamb was resting:

For dessert, a platter of figs, every variety I could find at the farmers’ market. Clockwise from the right: Black Mission figs (the common ones), Brown Turkish Figs, green Kadota Figs (my favorite: with an especially jammy pink center), a small black fig whose name I don’t remember, and Candy Stripe figs.

A good evening and good company.

p.s. If you’re curious how one transports a raw eight-pound leg of lamb on ice for an hour and a half without a car, here’s the answer:

One Response to “From Lamb to Plate”

  1. Stan Davis September 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Sounds great- especially the figs… your trip across the city with a leg of lamb on your bike reminds me of our pre-homesteading days in the 1960s when I took public transit in Boston to the old Sears store in the city to buy an ax- and then carried it home on the bus. I couldn’t figure out why everyone was keeping away from me, as I didn’t think of an ax as a weapon….. Stan D

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