Kick Off Grilling Season with Lamb Leg Steaks

Kick Off Grilling Season with Lamb Leg Steaks
Kick Off Grilling Season with Lamb Leg Steaks

It’s the time to honor our Fallen while we celebrate our Freedom. Memorial Day weekend officially kicks off the summer grilling season. It’s a day to balance solemnity with revelry. A day to pay our utmost respect to those who have laid down their lives to defend our freedom and ensure our liberty…we fire up the grill in celebration.

Lean, large, and very flavorful – the cross-section through the center of the hind leg – lamb leg steaks are great for grilling. Appropriately kicking off the year’s grilling season with this bold esoteric cut of lamb…as a prelude to summer adventure around the BBQ!

Grilled Lamb Leg Steaks Recipe 

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A Virtual Merino Lamb Adventure in New Zealand

Silere Merino Lamb Loin Fillets Mustard Seed Sauce, Cannellini Beans Pickled Fennel, Carrot, Parsnip Cilantro, Mint, Borage

Silere Merino Lamb Loin Fillets
Mustard Seed Sauce, Cannellini Beans
Pickled Fennel, Carrot, Parsnip
Cilantro, Mint, Borage

Are you up for an adventure? Come with me on a virtual culinary trip to New Zealand. Our voyage of discovery takes us to the South Island where we climb high up in the Southern Alps. As we explore an area rich in flora, covered with tussock grasses and wild herbs and flowers, we navigate the pristine silence of nature in rarefied air and brilliant sunshine. We breathe in nature’s sweet fresh bouquet.

Notice the snow-capped peaks that feed the clear alpine streams. Take note of the fauna too. Exquisite Merino sheep, historically treasured for their fine soft wool, are nibbling on those herbs and lapping up that pure water. This is an ancient breed, originally from central Spain, whose fleece has been prized for centuries and is made into the finest luxury clothing.

In recent years, particular strains of Merino sheep have been bred for their meat and are recognized as the finest breed for eating. Breed (Merino) plus Appellation (Southern Alps) equals 5 star blue-ribbon meat suitable for the world’s top restaurants. And now, us! Merino lamb just became available to the U.S. market, courtesy of the fine folks at Marx Foods here. “Good on ya, mates!” And “chur” for the free lamb samples.

Unlike cattle, lamb meat has not been designated by breed. Chefs and diners alike know the difference between Angus beef and Wagyu beef. But lamb, up until now – has been marketed by appellation – such as Colorado or New Zealand, regardless of the breed. Like wine, though appellation is important, it does not tell the whole story. That fine glass of Burgundy you sip, reflects the terrior where the grapes were grown, yes. But are you enjoying Chardonnay or Pinot Noir? Very different, indeed.

Readily distinguishable from their lowland cousins who chew on grass and lollygag around the flat plains, Merino sheep are hearty. Their healthy athleticism makes them well suited to forage for their tasty meals in the steep mountain ranges where this highland lifestyle produces a meat that is naturally leaner and less gamy, in fact, barely gamy at all. Their slower rate of maturation results in a more nuanced and refined flavor of meat.

My friend, you must be starving after our long hike in the Alps. Do come back to the lodge with me, and I will prepare Silere Merino Lamb Loin Fillets for dinner – a dish designed to showcase the elegance of the meat.

The fillets are not coated nor crusted. They are simply rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, then seared in a hot pan. This way, you can focus your attention on its rich delicate savoriness. To accompany the meat, I pair it with a range of flavors, spices, and textures that are well-known to complement lamb dishes over the globe.

Merino Lamb Loin Recipe

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A Lesson in Butchery and Cooking

michael fiorelli, lamb bolognese, terranea mar' sel

Slow Cooked Lamb Bolognese
Paccheri Pasta, Homemade Ricotta

FA and I had the pleasure of attending a class offered at the Chefs’ Summer Cooking Series @ Terranea Resort where we were invited in to the Mar’ Sel restaurant kitchen for a step-by-step lamb butchering demonstration by the talented and engaging Chef Michael Fiorelli. After the lesson we, along with 8 other guests, were seated in the beautiful dining room overlooking the Pacific Ocean to feast on a fabulous luncheon highlighting lamb.

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Lamb Medallion Stack, Warm Anchovy-Pine Nut Vinaigrette

Leg of Lamb Medallion, Dijon Mustard Anchovy Crust
Polenta Cake, Spinach, Parsley, Tomato
Warm Anchovy – Pine Nut Vinaigrette

I’ve been testing leg of lamb recipes for an upcoming event. One of the requirements of the challenge is that the entire recipe use no more than 10 ingredients (not including salt & pepper). So my goal is to get as many colors, textures, and memorable flavors into the lamb main-course dish as possible. Another guideline stipulates that all ingredients must be commonly available – so no Italian summer truffle, no foie gras (now banned here in California).

  1. Leg of Lamb Roast
  2. Olive Oil
  3. Polenta
  4. Spinach
  5. Parsley
  6. Tomato
  7. Anchovy
  8. Pine Nuts
  9. Dijon Mustard
  10. Sherry Vinegar

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“Mediterranean on the Pacific”

“Mediterranean on the Pacific”
Sunken City Supper Club
Summer Soirée

The Sunken City Supper Club is a fresh, local and secret place to seasonally mingle with friends and neighbors – to enjoy the camaraderie, great food, wine, and the awesome intimate jazz standards performed by local musicians Barry Anthony and Bill Ryan. We hold one event per season, and the menu always reflects seasonal ingredients. Our Sunken City Supper Club events feature a five course fixed menu plus our signature amuse bouche and unique sherry courses.

Supper Clubbers Sally & Al, with a great view!

The 24 guests are emailed the menu in advance so they can bring wines to complement the dinner. The Sunken City Supper Club is a “moveable feast” – the location varies. The Summer Soirée was held at the beautiful home of our friends Gina & Van overlooking the ocean in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The summer menu features many seasonal summertime ingredients typically served along the Mediterranean Sea. The table setting, decor, and colors enhanced the Mediterranean theme.

We are especially proud of this recent dinner, as we have now completed a full year’s cycle of seasonal events:

Over the year we have learned how to run a “restaurant” out of a home kitchen, held many experimental test kitchen dinners, honed our timing skills, gained a new appreciation for that second refrigerator, made new foodie friends, and had a blast! We look forward to another year of Sunken City Supper Club seasonal events!

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Eggplant & Spiced Lamb Napoleon


Grilled Eggplant Layered with Spiced Lamb
Roasted Tomato, Feta, Mint

The seasons fly by, don’t they? We just held our Lusty Month of May Springtime Jazz Feast, and here we are already testing dishes for our Sunken City Supper Club SUMMER Event, “Mediterranean on the Pacific.”

It will be held at our friends’ home high on the hill in Rancho Palos Verdes overlooking the Pacific Ocean. For this theme we will be imagining that the ocean is the Mediterranean Sea. We’ll be cooking with seasonal summer ingredients and Mediterranean flavors. This dish made the cut…

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