Monday, May 2, 2011

Lamb chops

Of all the meats that we can eat—
Chicken, beef, or ham—
the one that tickles my palate the most
is Lamb, Lamb, Lamb
Eastside Road, May 2, 2011—
SO ALWAYS SANG Virgil Thomson, and who am I to demur? Lord knows there are many fabulous meat courses: Bistecca Fiorentina; braised guinea fowl; pork chops with fennel; roast goose; lamb shanks; a good roast capon… those are only the first that come to mind, and very quickly. But tonight we had the meat course I think is my very favorite.

It's simple: loin chops from a lamb the right age, young young young though with the taste of grass in its mouth; rubbed with salt and herbes de provence; grilled over grapevine wood. That's all there is to it, and hardly any dishes to wash up.

Of course it's not that simple. The lamb has to be good: lean (though fat under the skin is okay; just trim much of it away), healthy, above all flavored with terroir. The frozen New Zealand lamb is okay, but on the inert side. Lamb from salt pastures on the coasts is superb, of course, but not that easily found. In Provence, spring lamb, with the taste of wild herbs, is delicious: but often a bit too old.

Tonight's lamb came from our son's pastures: it was fed right, handled right, and beautifully textured. As you see, we had it with chard from the garden; at the back, some faux-mashed potatoes, steam-sautéed and mushed up. Afterward, green salad.
Malbec, La Finca (Argentina), 2010

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