The Power Meal

So, I’ve been a bit remiss in my posting after setting you guys up with the last post about meal anxiety.  I’m sure you guys were on tenterhooks wondering what I made!  All the anxiety was for naught however as the next day we had Beatriz’s mom over for dinner, and the meal was a resounding success.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was interested in a doing a rosemary and anchovy roasted leg of lamb.  Fortuitously, when I was at one of my favorite Italian specialty store, Laurenzo’s in North Miami Beach (terrible website awesome store), I stumbled upon an amazing find.  Lamb shoulder.

We are most familiar with the leg of lamb in this country.  For good reason too.  It’ s a delicious and tender cut that’s very easy to work with.  I discovered in France however, when I was there a year and half ago, that Europe has been hoarding the lamb shoulder cut.  Also for good reason.  It’s an incredibly flavorful cut, however it’s tougher than the leg and it takes a little bit more skill and patience to work with. 

When I was in Paris in ’09, I stayed with two good friends who were kind enough to put me up for three days.  To make up for my imposition I insisted on making them dinner.  They had the loveliest butcher shop I’ve ever seen just down the street from their apartment and I found the lamb shoulder.  I had roasted it in a wet mixture of Provencal style vegetables (tomatoes, garlic, thyme), and it was really good.  I’ve been a lamb shoulder lover ever since.  However I had not had lamb shoulder since then.

Low and behold!  I go to Laurenzo’s looking for a good priced leg of lamb, and i find the shoulder.  It was about $4.99 lb, which makes it much more affordable than leg of lamb (usually $8.99 – $12.99 lb). The cut I found was a larger piece (6-7 lb) and I knew it was going to be a bit tougher.  I researched a lot of recipes, but basically followed the recipe I found in Chocolate and Zucchini.  (I did ditch the lemon).  I basically roasted the shoulder at 300 degrees, covered for part of the way, for about 4.5 hours.  It was very good.  Since the shoulder is a fattier, tougher cut, the slow roasting breaks down the tough meat fibers and leaves you with a delicious, unctuous joint of lamb.  

For the marinade, I basically marinated the lamb in the rosemary, anchovy, garlic, and olive oil (mashed into a paste).  I then seasoned the lamb liberally with black pepper.  I salted the piece of lamb right before putting it in the oven (salt will leach out the moisture in the meat if you marinade it too far ahead).  I then roasted it in a 300 degree oven for about 4.5 hours.  I started with it covered and took off the cover after a while to make sure it was sufficiently golden.  Since I had such a glorious cut, I wanted to keep the rest of the meal simple.  Since the first sweet corn is starting to be harvested I decided to serve sweet corn, stripped off the cob and sautéed in butter.  I simply served the sautéed corn, a tomato and onion salad (thanks Martha), and some slices of Florida green avocado (which is something that is very common in Latin America and the Carribean).

As for the dessert?  I made a chocolate and zucchini cake.  It was very nice.  Rich, but not too rich, and not too sweet.  Also turned out very well.

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One thought on “The Power Meal

  1. I am surprised to learn that the shoulder is a tougher cut. Of course it makes sense it would be, I just hadn’t thought about it. It didn’t occur to me because the lamb was falling-off-the-bone soft.

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