Friday, October 19, 2012

Roast Leg of Lamb with Pomegranate Cucumber Relish

I'm seeing these beautiful red globes all over the markets these days--pomegranates are so pretty and even though they take a little work I eat them once a week during their season. I actually picked mine up a little earler in the season from Twin Girls a couple of weeks ago and they had these beautiful red seeds.  Right now, though, you can get great ones from Full Belly, Feather River and Balakian Farms at the San Rafael farmer's markets.  The leg of lamb I used for this was boneless and tied from Marin Sun Farms but you can use any cut of lamb, it's the relish that really makes this dish shine. In fact, I made a pretty big serving of it and ended up polishing it all off that night. 

This recipe was hacked from Epicurious, they are calling the relish a salsa, maybe because of the mint jelly (that I omitted), but when I put it on the table Sophia asked, "Is this some kind of relish?  It looks so good!"  And I said, "Why yes, it is, that's exactly what it is."  So there you have it.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Pomegranate Cucumber Relish
original recipe here

5 garlic cloves
a half leg of lamb (butt end; about 4 pounds)
tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil

For relish

1/2 cup pine nuts (about 4 ounces) I got some really nice organic ones from the bulk bins at Whole Foods
1 English cucumber or one of those lemon cucumbers at the markets now
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
seeds from 1 large pomegranate (here's a handy technique)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Mince garlic. Put lamb on a rack in a roasting pan and in small bowl stir together garlic, rosemary, mint, and oil. Rub mixture onto lamb and season with salt and pepper. Roast lamb in middle of oven 1 1/2 hours, or until a meat thermometer registers 145°F for medium-rare, 150-155 for medium. Transfer lamb to a cutting board and let stand, covered loosely with foil, 10 minutes.

Make relish while lamb is standing:
Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over moderate heat until golden. Watch this, they go from browned to burned in a snap.  Seed cucumber and cut into 1/4-inch dice. In a bowl whisk together vinegar and oil and add remaining salsa ingredients, tossing. Season salsa with salt and pepper. (Do not make relish too far ahead or it will become watery.)

Thinly slice lamb across grain and arrange on a platter. Top lamb with some relish and serve remaining relish on the side.

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