Seduction Meals is about food + romance and the premise that everyone should learn to master one dish that is their signature dish—a Seduction Meal, to enchant and captivate that special someone in your life...
Spring time was in the air while shopping at the farmers market this weekend. Finally sunshine and blue skies. Daffodils, Narcissus, and Hyacinths. And luscious spring vegetables like ramps, asparagus, baby artichokes and fresh peas. So to celebrate I happily picked up two dozen Narcissus flowers-pale yellow with bright orange centers that put a smile on your face; they look so lovely. For my springtime meal I whipped up a quick but simply delicious dinner: pan fried lamb chops, boiled baby red potatoes, and fresh peas garnished with mint. Yum!
Pan Fried Lamb Chops for Two
Six lamb chops, about 1 inch thick
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon of dried, crushed Rosemary
1 teaspoon of country style dijon mustard
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 tablespoons olive oil
garnish: 4 mint leaves, roughly chopped
Place lamb chops on a cutting board and salt and pepper both sides
In a small bowl add garlic, rosemary, mustard and 1 tablespoon of olive oil
Brush this mixture all over the top of all lamb chops
In a deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil, when hot, add all lamb chops - garlic mixture side down, and cook for 3 minutes
Turn chops over and cook for 3-4 minutes for medium rare chops, test to ensure doneness by cutting one chop in the center
Place three chops on each plate and garnish with mint
Peas with Fresh Mint
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 small white onion, cut in half, thinly sliced
2 cups of fresh peas, shelled
4 tablespoons of water, enough to cover bottom of pan
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon sweet butter
8 mint leaves, roughly chopped
In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until translucent.
Add peas and water, cook for three minutes
Add mint leaves, salt and pepper
Lower heat to medium, cover the skillet, and cook until peas are tender, about 3-4 minutes.
Serve as is, or add a tab of sweet butter if you prefer.
This leg of lamb recipe is a specialty of a very close friend of mine. If you are looking for a special menu for a holiday meal, a family get-together or a special occasion, this meal is sure to fit the bill--roast leg of lamb, roast potatoes, creamed carrots, and peas--simply delicious!
Roast leg of lamb
Roast leg of lamb, rosemary potatoes and creamed carrots
1 leg of lamb, bone in
12, garlic cloves, peeled
1 bottle red wine
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 bunch of rosemary, chopped
6 tablespoons dijon mustard
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Directions for the Leg of Lamb
Wash the leg of lamb and pat dry
Place lamb in a large non stick roasting pan
Season thoroughly with salt and fresh ground black pepper
Using a small knife, pierce the leg of lamb and insert the peeled garlic cloves in each slit
In a bowl, make a paste with the olive oil, 1 glass of red wine, mustard, cayenne, rosemary and completely coat the leg of lamb with the mixture
Cover with foil marinate in the fridge overnight
Preheat oven to 375
Roast the leg of lamb, covered with foil, for approximately 4 hours basting every hour with the rest of the wine and hot water used from the potatoes (see below)
Baste the lamb every 1/2 hour with a mixture of the vegetable water (see below) and red wine mixture
When lamb is done, place thinly carved slices on a serving platter.
Pour au jus in a serving container and serve on the side. The Au Jus is made from the liquid that is at the bottom of the pan. This liquid consists of the wine and vegetable water used in basting, plus the juices let off during cooking.
Vegetables: Roast Potatoes and Creamed Carrots Potatoes:
1 dozen new potatoes, scrubbed
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tabs of butter
2 bags of baby carrots
2 tablespoons of sweet butter
3 teaspoons of honey
salt to taste
Boil a dozen new potatoes, when half cooked remove from the hot water saving the liquid for the carrots (see below), and place potatoes in baking dish.
Sprinkle salt, fresh ground pepper and chopped rosemary, olive oil and butter
Roast in oven at 375 until golden brown, turn frequently to prevent burning
Sweet Creamed Carrots Use the potato water to boil two bags of baby carrots, when tender, remove from water with a slotted spoon and puree in blender with butter, salt and honey to taste.
Petit Pois (small sweet fresh green peas)
Place peas in the same water carrots and potatoes were cooked in, bring to a boil, drain and serve with a few tablespoons of butter
Reserve the water to use for basting the lamb with the leftover wine
With the Sea bass Kabobs and Grilled Peaches being such a hit, I decided to try another kabob recipe, this time Balsamic and Rosemary Scented American Lamb Kabobs. They were done just right, juicy lamb skewers with a hint of rosemary and balsamic flavors.
Balsamic and Rosemary Scented American Lamb Kabobs 6 servings
1-1/4 pounds American Lamb leg or shoulder, cut into 18 cubes
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
12 medium mushrooms
2 bell peppers, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large red onion, cut into 12 wedges
1 large zucchini, cut into 12 pieces
6 wood skewers (12-inch) soaked in water
In small bowl combine vinegar, garlic, rosemary, cumin, salt, pepper and coriander.
Prepare kabobs by threading lamb, mushrooms, bell peppers, onion and zucchini onto skewers.
Baste with herb sauce.
Broil 4 inches from source of heat for 4 minutes per side or to desired degree of doneness:
145ºF for medium-rare, 160ºF for medium and 170ºF for well.
This recipe for grilled lamb chops is perfect for nights when you don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen and desire something easy to prepare but tasty at the same time. Serve with fresh picked string beans, a Greek salad or grilled asparagus on the side.
Grilled American Lamb Loin Chops with Fennel 4 servings
1tablespoon fennel seeds
1teaspoon each garlic salt and coarse pepper
2teaspoons olive oil
8American Lamb loin chops, 1-1/4-inch-thick
1large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
In small bowl, combine fennel, garlic salt, pepper and olive oil.
Rub mixture on both sides of lamb chops and onion slices.
Turn on the grill to medium high.
Begin by cooking onions for 5 minutes. Turn onions over when browned and cook until tender.
Add lamb chops and grill for 7 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness.
Make grilled onions into rings, by pushing out from the center of the onion and top with lamb chops.
Recipe and image provided by the American Lamb Board
When you are dating a southern gal or guy, it is a nice gesture to master a dish to make them feel truly at home. For some good old southern cookin' try this easy to make Lamb Creole Gumbo. And let the good times roll - or as the say in N'Awlins: "Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez"!
Savory Lamb Creole Gumbo 6 to 8 servings
1 pound American Lamb leg or shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
Does your body ever crave salad? I know I go through a craving every once in a while. All I want (and I guess need) is to enjoy a meal of greens--clean food as I call it. There are many variations of hearty dinner salads such as Salad Nicoise, Caesar Salad with Sliced Chicken or Grilled Shrimp, and now this tasty salad made with braised America Lamb, Raspberries, Pecans and Avocado. Serve this dish with a grilled cheese sandwich such as the Feta cheese on baguette described below or melted open faced Gruyere cheese on french bread.
Lamb, Raspberries, Pecans and Avocado Salad 8 servings Recipe and image courtesy of the American Lamb Board
1 pound boneless American Lamb shoulder, trimmed of visible fat and cut into pieces of equal thickness
1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cubed
1/3 cup prepared dressing of your choice (I prefer a simple dressing of olive oil with a splash of red wine vinegar or fresh squeezed lemon)
Creamy feta cheese and 16 slices of baguette for garnish
In large skillet with cover, heat oil over high heat. Brown lamb on all sides. Add 2 cups water. Cover and braise over low heat for 1 hour. Cool in liquid. Remove from liquid. Refrigerate or freeze remaining liquid for use in stock for soup.
Cut meat into 1-inch pieces, removing all fat; set aside.
In salad bowl, combine greens, berries, pecans, and avocado; set aside. Mix lamb with salad dressing. Toss with salad.
For garnish, spread feta cheese on slices of baguette and brown under broiler.
Serve salad on plates and garnish with two slices of baguette.
Some dishes are more complicated and take time, but the end result is well worth the praise and adoration you will experience; and this dish falls under that category. Braised lamb shanks with artichokes, tomatoes and fava beans is the mastermind of Chef Pano Karatassos from Kyma Restaurant in Atlanta--a definite contender for your next romantic meal for two.
Braised Lamb Shanks with Artichokes and Fava Beans 8 servings Preparation time: 30 minutes Cook time: 3-1/2 to 4 hours
8 American Lamb shanks
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves plus a bundle of thyme
4 cups chicken broth
16 cloves garlic, sliced
4 medium onions, sliced
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Roma tomatoes, blanched in hot water 1 minute, peeled, center and seeds removed; cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
12 fava bean pods, beans removed from pod, boiled in water for 4 minutes, cooled, shelled and thinly sliced
Before you pack away that BBQ, consider the romance of dining outdoors under the stars on a Fall evening with a Mediterranean style feast. This seduction meal calls for grilled Lamb Kabobs and Fennel that marinate overnight in a blend of juices and herbs. The results? Bold enticing flavors and tender, succulent lamb. This can be served with a side dish of rice. End your romantic soiree with the sweet temptation of baklava--here is a recipe from SimplyRecipes.com that caught my eye.
Here's an alternative to beef burgers that went over big time for my last BBQ bash. I served this with a tomato, onion dill salad, and grilled corn-on-the-cob. This was paired with ice-cold beer and lime slices.
Grilled American Lamb Burgers Recipe and photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board 8 servings
In large bowl, combine ground lamb, tomato sauce, oats, onion, basil, garlic powder, seasoned salt and pepper. Mix until all ingredients are blended. Shape into eight 1/2-inch thick patties.
To Grill: Cook over medium-hot coals. Grill 4 inches from coals 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness: 145ºF for medium-rare, 160ºF for medium or 170ºF for well.
To Broil: Place lamb patties on broiler pan. Broil lamb 4 inches from source of heat for 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness: 145ºF for medium-rare, 160ºF for medium or 170ºF for well.
Plating the Dish
Arrange lettuce leaf on bottom half of each bun.
Top with onion rings, 2 tomato slices, cooked lamb patties and bun top.
Its always good to have a recipe on hand for those rainy nights when you can't sit outside at sunset or under the stars to enjoy your romantic meal for two. Here is a recipe for Adobe Crusted Lamb Chops that will spice up your summer evening on a rainy nights without regret. Serve with a chilled bottle of white wine, mashed potatoes and your favorite vegetable side dish.
Adobo Crusted Lamb Chops Recipe from Chef Allen Susser, Chef Allen's (Aventura, Florida) 4 servings
Cozy up to a crackling fire, pour two glasses red wine, and note the expression of delight as you place this savory winter dish before your guest. Slow-cooked lamb shank served with roasted vegetables--the aroma alone will seduce your senses, let alone the taste. Serve this with creamy mashed potatoes or polenta.
Braised Lamb Shank with Vegetables 4 servings Recipe Courtesy Lamb Council
3 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal 1/4-inch thick
1 large onion, chopped
1 fennel, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/4-inch thick (do not use solid center)
2 bottles (12 ounces each) light to medium beer*
1 can (15 ounces) chopped petite tomatoes and juice
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
10 sprigs fresh thyme
3 bay leaves
Generously season shanks with salt and pepper. In large skillet, heat oil over high heat. Brown shanks on all sides until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from pan and place in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Pour out liquid from pan.
In same skillet, combine garlic, carrots, onion and fennel; sauté for 6 to 8 minutes to lightly brown, stirring occasionally. Mix in beer or broth, tomatoes and juice, chicken broth, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Pour over shanks.
Braise in 375°F oven for 2-1/2 hours. Baste shanks with sauce and turn them over every 45 minutes. Serve lamb in large, low-sided soup bowls with broth and vegetables.
*24 ounces of fat-free chicken broth may be substituted.
With its sweet, mild flavor lamb is a wonderful choice for your Seduction Meal main dish. Because it is such a flavorful meat the easiest and best way to serve lamb is to grill or broil it with a dab of olive oil, add some crushed rosemary, a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper on each side, and serve rare or medium-rare.
The recipe below brings another dimension of flavor by adding pesto sauce and the sweet flavor of oven-roasted tomatoes. This dish goes perfectly with rice pilaf or, if you are interested in a heartier meal, potatoes au gratin (the next post to come on Seduction Meals).
lamb chops + roasted tomatoes
2 plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 300. With cut side facing up, add salt and pepper and spoon olive oil over the tomatoes. Place in oven and cook for about 1 hour. If you like you can garnish each tomato with a black olive in the center.
4 lamb chops
8 tsp pesto sauce
fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/8 cup cracked pepper
In a large skillet heat oil over medium high heat. Place the cracked pepper on a wooden cutting board and press the sides of each lamb chop in to the pepper. Place the chops on a cutting board, sprinkle salt on side facing up. Add a pinch of rosemary and 1 tsp pesto on each lamb chop and spread evenly. Place in heated skillet, pesto side down, cook for 3-4 minutes. Add salt to the side facing up in the skillet, add rosemary and pesto, spread evenly. Turn over and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Test lamb. Should be served rare or medium-rare
plating the dish
Place lamb chops and roasted tomatoes on a serving dish. Garnish with sprigs of rosemary. Prepare your candle-lit table for two and serve with a hearty, full bodied red wine.
This is a variation on the famous Turkish dish, Imam Bayildi which literally means "The Iman Fainted". They say a certain Imam who tasted this dish after observing a holy day and ending a long fast was so taken with the aroma of this dish, he actually fainted. May you be so lucky to witness this same reaction!
The original dish does not include the lamb, so feel free to remove this ingredient and skip the first 5 ingredients and step 1. Either way, its delicious! This is a stove top dish that I consider easy to prepare, although there is a bit of preparation. This can be served as a main dish or as a side dish.