Wednesday, August 14, 2013

seasonal - grill, simple lamb, asparagus

I've been experiencing some lags recently, so please excuse me for posting about asparagus way beyond season (well, at least in Europe). But, hey, the grilling season is still on, so perhaps at least the lamb recipe will be useful.

Both the green asparagus and lamb chops are extremely easy and fast to prepare, but at the same time - they're really impressive. All you need to do with the asparagus, once you cleaned them (which, in Europe, doesn't only mean trimming the lower ends - you should really peel them unless you're lucky enough to find 50 cm long asparagus you can afford to cut 15 cm off) is to sprinkle them with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and olive oil - they're ready to grill.

Now - with the lamb there are two ways to do this. An uncertain, easy one, and a delicious one you have to put some more effort into. You can either buy ready made pesto genovese for this, or make it yourself. Unless you have a brand you're sure of and very little time, I recommend making it yourself. I actually dislike pine nuts, so I substitute them with walnuts. With added garlic it's not really pesto genovese anymore, but, hell, it's god. I use a blender - this way it's easier to get a more even, flavourful sauce.

So, for the semi-pesto I throw a big bunch of fresh basil leaves, a handful of parmigiano, a couple pressed big garlic cloves (I usually add more, but I love garlic, not everybody does) and a handful of walnuts. I season it after blending - the parmiggiano is salty, so it's easy to overdo it with the salt before tasting.

TIP: To make the walnuts blend better with the other ingredients I use a garlic presser - no more large bits!

Back to the grilling - take the lamb chops (any lamb chops) and generously rub them with the pesto. Place them on the grill together with the asparagus. If the chops are small and thin, I recommend putting the asparagus on earlier, as they may take longer to cook. As for the times - don't require exact times for me - this all depends on the grill, the temperature you achieved, the size of the chops and most of all - on your preferences. I like it rare or at least medium-rare.

As you can see on the picture, I didn't use a regular grill/barbecue - I tried out the Lotus Grill thingy and I'm quite pleased with it. If you're doing it right, that is, read the manual and use all the things you need to use, including the lighting gel (unlike we did the first time round), it's really great. It heats up almost immediately, it's clean, doesn't take much space, you can use it on your balcony without annoying the people next door or above you. Also, if you're a design and gadget freak like me, it's simply pretty cool. We have the smaller one, but it also comes in bigger sizes for bigger parties. Check it out here: