Of Lamb and Fat - A Whole Foods Saga

I haven't clued you in with my ongoing Whole Foods lamb and fat saga. Got great relationship with the guy, if I had to guess a Caribbean, at the fish counter, even kid him when I zoom by, to 'pick up the pace', when he is short handed and number of customers are in line. On another day, he kids me back when I am in line, looks at me intently and calls 'next' as he moves on to another customer. The meat department is another story altogether. Although extremely accommodating I frustrate the hell out of them. Really had to use 'hell' 'cause' I am sure that's what they sense as I approach, as if I were the eleventh plague. It ain't my fault really, it's the recipe's. I follow this great Israeli chef, Aharoni, luckily broadcasted on the internet, when he hosts another guest chef to cook with him on Mondays. This particular guest chef was an extremely serious fellow with his craft. The instructions were to buy a deboned whole lamb shoulder, off the bat a special order. Heard of a whole leg of lamb but shoulder?! Ok, that was not the least of my problems, the technique called to cover the 'slab' with a plate of fat from top of a rack of lamb chops. There was a lot of explaining, a lot of back and forth, even at some point something to the affect of, what I understood to be, faulting me for throwing away perfectly beautiful lamb, 'cause' I haven't shown up in time for pick up. They did not have spare lamb fat, brought me some brisket fat that looked like something out of Jamie Oliver's Food revolution, which we watched premiere the night before. I wanted to understand where were both shoulder chops in the deboned whole lamb were located. Education aside, just could not risk having only one chop represented, could I?!.....at which point Jonathan just could not handle it anymore and left. For reasons, not obvious to me, he was siding with the guys at the meat counter, the butcher. I ended up walking out with two shoulder roasts and two racks of lamb I bought only for their fat, and what a beautiful fat may I add (see pics). Had to give up delicious Cara Cara oranges at $1/a piece, come to think of it they are very expensive on any given day. The whole exchange was brought by this unique technique of rubbing the whole shoulder with a garlic and covering it with the plate of rack of lamb chops fat.  Roast on low heat for three hours until fork tender. The idea behind the technique is that the fat and low heat are to keep the tender pinkish color of the lamb in tact while having a luxuriously delicate 'fall of the bone' lamb morsel for any palate.

Lamb Shoulder Roast
1 deboned lamb shoulder roast, tied with twine (approx 3 1/2 lbs)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
Fresh white pepper
1/2-1 teaspoon salt
1-2 bunch fresh thyme for cooking as serving

In a food processor put 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, garlic, olive oil, salt and white pepper and pulse until emulsifies. Cut slits on top on lamb shoulder as pockets for the emulsified rub.  Salt and white pepper roast. With a small teaspoon scoop some of the rub from food processor and insert into slits.  Rub into all crevices of the shoulder and all around.  I arranged one bunch of fresh thyme leaves at the bottom of my Le Creuset, but can use any pot with a lid that can go into the oven, put the lamb roast on top of bed of fresh thyme and covered with a 'plate' of chops fat.  Secure the fat on top of the roast with toothpicks, otherwise it will slide right off while roasting.  Cover Le Creuset with a lid and put in a pre heated 302F over for three hours. 302F exact conversion of 150C.  Let sit for 20 minutes and snip twine off.  All the fat from roast will be melted at bottom of the pot. Serve on a bed of fresh thyme leaves on a platter with roasted potatoes around the roast.  The roast is so tender it falls apart when trying to slice it.  I like to think of it as delicate morsels. A very luxurious Holiday dish.

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