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Oct 23, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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By the Book: “The Islands of Greece” by Rebecca Seal

September 30th 04:09pm, 2016

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The Islands of Greece: Recipes from Across the Greek Seas is a travelogue of recipes collected by Rebecca Seal. The book offers a wide range of dishes with varying degrees of difficulty and indulgence. Torn between frying cheese in philo dough and making a salad, I opted for Volcanic Lamb with Egg and Lemon Sauce – solely because of the name.

The recipe was incredibly simple and clear, but lacked a few necessary details and had some practical problems. It instructed me to soften onions gently in a wide pan (Over what heat? Until translucent?), then increase the heat (to what?) and brown the lamb. I ended up removing the onions mid-lamb searing so the onions wouldn’t burn. I also used a lot more than five tablespoons water to deglaze the pan. Otherwise, the recipe went off without a hitch. Don’t be afraid to place a Dutch oven full of lamb in the oven without even a little wine to bask in; the shanks produced their own braising liquid of pure savory, fatty goodness. This hands-off recipe produced the richest dish I’ve ever made with a show-stopping silky egg sauce, a pop of fresh thyme and extremely little effort.

Skill level: Intermediate. The recipes are simple, but require some cooking common sense.
This book is for: Cooks who want a culinary tour of Greece from their home kitchens.
Other recipes to try: Cheese pies from Alonissos, chickpea fritters, chicken baked in yoghurt
The Verdict: The Kokkari steak was a tender treat, but it couldn’t beat the miles-deep richness of these roasted lamb shanks.

 

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Volcanic Lamb with Egg & Lemon Sauce
4 servings

Lamb
1 sliced onion
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 lamb shanks, weighing 300 g. to 400 g. (10.5 to 14 oz. each)
6 sprigs thyme, plus more to serve
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400 g. (14 oz.) baby new potatoes, in their skins
A little butter

Sauce
1 egg
Juices from the lamb
1 Tbsp. lemon juice, or to taste

• Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celsius (275 degrees Fahrenheit, Gas 1).
• For the lamb, soften the onion gently in a wide pan with the olive oil. Increase the heat and add the lamb, browning the shanks thoroughly on all sides. Deglaze the pan with 4 to 5 tablespoons water, scraping up any bits that have stuck. Tip the whole lot into an ovenproof dish with a tight-fitting lid and add the thyme, salt and pepper. Place the lid on the dish and put into the oven. Cook 3 hours, or until the meat is falling from the bone.
• Just before the lamb comes out of the oven, boil the new potatoes in salted water until just tender. Drain and dry on paper towels then saute gently in the butter over a medium-low heat, until lightly browned all over.
• When the lamb is cooked, spoon off most of the juices from the dish, leaving just enough so the meat doesn’t dry out. Keep it somewhere warm, with the lid on.
• Make the sauce. Beat the egg until creamy. Very slowly drizzle in the hot pan juices, whisking constantly to ensure the egg doesn’t cook and make the sauce lumpy, then add the lemon juice. Pour it all into a clean pan and warm over a very, very gentle heat, but do not bring anywhere close to boiling. If you feel there isn’t enough sauce, add a little stock or even water. You can also add more lemon juice, to taste. Remove from the heat and serve with the lamb, onions and potatoes, scattered with a few thyme leaves.

 

Reprinted with permission from Hardie Grand Books

By Heather Hughes

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