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Saturday, March 31, 2012

French Roast Leg of Lamb and Swiss Chard with Indian Lime Pickle

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
Roast leg of lamb is a no-brainer. It's a delicious way to make a super easy, yet elegant dinner. The most important part is starting with a good piece of lamb. So buy local! Here is a classic French preparation — no need to reinvent the wheel. And then I have a recipe for a fantastic Swiss chard side dish to go with it.

1 7 to 8 pound leg of lamb, room temperature before cooking
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
4 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons EVOO
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat your oven to 450. Remove all but a thin layer of fat around the outside of the leg .Using the tip of your paring knife, make about 10 evenly spaced incisions each 1 inch deep all over the lamb. In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, 1 tablespoon EVOO, garlic, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste mix well. Divide about 1/2 cup of the mixture into the incisions, shove it in there and then rub the lamb with the remaining olive oil then frost with the mustard and cover the lamb with the remaining breadcrumbs. Pat down to form an even crust. Place the lamb fat-side-up in a roasting pan and roast at the high temp for 15 minutes. Then reduce the oven to 300 and continue to roast about 1 hour or longer, until your instant read thermometer reads 130. Remove from the oven and let rest 20 minutes before carving.

Now how about a killer side dish to go with it?

Swiss Chard with Indian Lime Pickle

1/2 cup mild Pataks brand Indian lime pickle (available at Ziggy's)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 bunches Swiss chard, stems and tough central spines removed
1 tablespoon butter
1 small shallot, peeled and minced
Fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest

In a blender, combine lime pickle, lemon juice, and olive oil and puree til smooth adding a little water to help it purée. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Prepare an ice bath and dissolve the other tablespoon of water in it. Add Swiss chard to water and boil until it goes bright green and gets very tender. Now transfer Chard to ice bath. Remove from water and squeeze to remove excess water. Set aside.

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add butter. When melted, add shallots and salt and pepper cover pot a cook til shallot is is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the Chard, the lime pickle puree, and lemon zest and mix it with tongs til it is all separated and coated with mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve warm.