Thursday, August 21, 2008

Your next dinner party: part 2- entrée and side

So now that you've had the perfect start with the guacamole and padron peppers from yesterday's post, the edge is off the hunger and a little groove is setting in from the pre-dinner beverages, it's time to really kick it in and get the love going with this awesome, über-seasonal roasted corn potato salad and a kick ass grilled leg of lamb. Both of these are, as everything should be when you're entertaining, really easy, low stress mains that will get raves at the table.

The roasted corn potato salad is something I discovered last year on epicurious and I absolutely loved it. Grilling the corn really caramelizes the sugars and intensifies the flavors. With all the corn flooding farmer's markets, even if you don't make this salad it is a great way to cook fresh corn for regular off the cob eating. In the salad there's this residual smokiness to the kernels that with the grilled red peppers really sets your tastebuds buzzing. And of course, the addition of bacon doesn't hurt either...mmmm, cured pork products!

And when isn't a grilled butterflied leg of lamb a good idea? Unless you're a cute fuzzy little lamb running around on three legs of course. But for those of us on top of the food chain it's the perfect dinner party dish. This is a recipe I got off of epicurious that I've done three or four times and it always kills. This time for whatever reason was the best yet. The rub/marinade (picture above left) is fantastic. Pungent with garlic, fresh herbs, pepper, salt. I think it was the extra time I gave it in the marinade, and the fact that it got this nice crust from the super hot charcoal fire. Whatever it was, it turned out perfectly medium-rare and was so, I'm salivating all over again thinking about it! Oh, and while the meat is resting, don't forget to squeeze some lemon juice on it like I almost did. Also,unless you're a fan of extra work or unduly proud of your knife skills, have your butcher do the boning of the leg. For something this good, I had to open the Chateauneuf du Pape you might have read about a couple of days ago. It worked so well, but you could also do practically any full-bodied red like a good cab or zin. A nice full Italian Barbera is also one of my favorite things to drink with anything off the 'que. Whatever you open, just make sure there's plenty, because this dinner is all about food and wine enjoyment!
* * * * * * * * *
Potato and Roasted Corn Salad
makes 8 servings.

3 ears fresh corn, unhusked
2 large red bell peppers
1-1/2 pounds 1 1/2- to 2-inch-diameter unpeeled red-skinned potatoes, quartered
4 thick bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)
1 cup chopped green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

1.Prepare barbecue (high heat). Grill corn until husks are blackened on all sides, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Remove husks and silk. Cut kernels from cobs.
2.Cut 1/2 inch from top and bottom of each pepper. Quarter each pepper lengthwise. Trim ribs and seeds from peppers. Flatten pieces, breaking slightly, if necessary. Place peppers on grill, skin side down. Grill without turning until skins are blackened and blistered, about 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Peel peppers; cut into 1/2-inch squares.
3.Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain; let cool 5 minutes in strainer. Transfer to large bowl.
4.Sauté bacon in medium skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels.
5.Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl to blend. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Drizzle 1/4 cup dressing over potatoes; toss to coat. Add corn, bell peppers, bacon, onions, oregano, and 3 tablespoons additional dressing (you can also add the blue cheese at this point. We left it out because the salad was tasting so fresh without it, and it made it a little lighter- BB); toss to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper. Add remaining dressing by tablespoonfuls to moisten, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- - - - - - -

Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with lemon, herbs, and garlic
from epicurious/Gourmet

from Gourmet: "This recipe can be prepared in 45 minutes or less but requires additional sitting time. Butterflied leg of lamb can sometimes get a little unwieldy. To secure loose flaps of meat, run 2 long metal skewers lengthwise and 2 skewers crosswise through the lamb, bunching the meat together. Securing the lamb this way will also help it cook more evenly."

Serves 8.

For herb rub
8 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon coarse salt
3 tablespoons olive oil Paste

a 7- to 8-pound leg of lamb, trimmed of all fat, boned, and butterflied by butcher (4 to 4 3/4 pounds boneless)
1 lemon

Make herb rub:
Finely chop garlic and in a small bowl stir together with remaining herb-rub ingredients.

Put lamb in a large dish and with tip of a sharp small knife held at a 45-degree angle cut 1/2-inch-deep slits all over lamb, rubbing herb mixture into slits and all over lamb. Marinate lamb at room temperature 1 hour (I did three hours-bb). Prepare grill. Lightly pat lamb dry. On a lightly oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals grill lamb about 10 minutes on each side, or until an instant-read thermometer horizontally inserted into thickest part of meat registers 125°F for medium-rare. (Alternatively, roast lamb in a roasting pan in middle of a 425°F oven about 25 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer horizontally inserted into meat registers 125°F for medium-rare.) Transfer lamb to a cutting board. Halve and seed lemon. Squeeze juice over lamb and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 15 minutes. Cut lamb into slices and serve with any juices that have accumulated on cutting board.


Sarah said...

That is quite the feast; that first photo locked me in! Nothing like a good leg of lambie on the barbie :)

bb said...

sarah- it was awesome! It was soooo good! I appreciate that that lambie gave his all...well, at least part of his all...for our happiness!

Anonymous said...

We would like to feature your potato and roast corn salad on our blog. Please email if interested. Thanks :)

You can view our blog here: