Saturday, 24 April 2010

MARINATED MIXED OLIVES

This is a nice way to serve olives. The marinade is a delicious and colourful combination. It's served as a "mezĂ©," which in Greek means something to nibble on: An appetizer to be served with an aperitif before dinner. 

Ingredients:

1 cup Kalamata olives
1/2 cup oil-cured olives
1/2 cup green olives

2 tablespoons of capers
Zest of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon dry red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped dill
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano

a few sprigs of thyme

Directions:
  • Make sure all the olives are pitted. They can be purchased that way, or if you like you can do the job yourself.
  • In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients and mix well. 
  • Serve the olives as an appetizer. They are delicious when accompanied by slices of crusty bread or warm pita slices.
  • This dish can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for about two days prior to serving.

ROAST LEG OF LAMB AND POTATOES GREEK STYLE FOR EASTER! ARNI PSITO





For this year's Easter Sunday dinner we roasted two legs of lamb. Very easy to make. The lamb was out of the way once it started to roast, and that freed us up to do so many other things...The recipe given below is for one leg of lamb. Since I cooked two, I doubled it. Sometimes I make this same recipe with lamb that's off the bone. Works just as well. I cook lamb the low and slow way which makes it very juicy and meltingly soft. If you scroll down, don't get discouraged by the length of the recipe. I give detailed instructions, that's why the length, but let me reiterate that this is an easy recipe. And boy oh boy, no tough, fatty lamb for dinner with this one!


Ingredients:

1 leg of lamb on the bone (about 6 pounds) 
salt and pepper to taste
6 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
4 or 5 celery stalks
3 carrots  
6 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
4 sprigs rosemary
2 tablespoons dried oregano

6 sprigs thyme
Some grated pecorino Romano cheese

olive oil
1 large lemon
water

1/4 cup lemon juice


Directions:
  • Trim some of the fat from the lamb. How much? As much as your conscience wants you to. 
  • With a small knife make about 6 slits in the lamb and insert a piece of garlic into each one. Twist some kitchen twine around the lamb. Three rounds will be enough. I have devised this method so that I can keep the herbs attached to the meant as it cooks. 
  • In a small bowl, add two tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of one lemon. Whisk to combine, and rub the mixture over the surface of the lamb. Season with salt and pepper and with one tablespoon of the oregano.
  • Leave the carrots unpeeled; place them along with the celery on the bottom of a heavy baking pan and add the lamb on top. These vegetables are meant to serve as a rack, therefore arrange them accordingly, letting them rest mostly beneath the lamb. They are to be discarded once the lamb finishes cooking.
  • Pour one cup of water around the lamb.
  • Place in a preheated 450 F oven and roast for 20 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, turn the lamb over, and roast for another 20 minutes. 
  • Lower the heat to 300 F and remove the pan from the oven. 
  • Arrange the potatoes and any remaining cloves of garlic around the lamb. 
  • Season with salt, pepper, the remaining oregano and with a small portion of the thyme and rosemary. 
  • Add the rest of the rosemary and thyme on top and underneath the lamb, wedging it in the twine. 
  • If the water was evaporated, replenish it so that it measures about 1/4 of a cup. Add the lemon juice to it.  
  • Sprinkle the Pecorino Romano cheese on top of the meat and potatoes. 
  • Cover with parchment paper and aluminium foil and place back in the oven. If the pan has a lid, add the lid on top of the aluminium foil. This will give you an exceptional seal, and that's what you want. 
  • Bake at 300°F for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the meat can easily be pulled away from the bone.
  • Remove the aluminium foil and parchment paper and raise the temperature to 400°F; allow the lamb and potatoes to brown some more (about 20 minutes, but you be the judge with your own oven).
  • Take the lamb out of the oven, cut the twine and dress with some olive oil and if you like lemon juice, get yourself another lemon and go to town squeezing its juice over the lamb. 
  • Let rest before serving. 
Hints:
  1. It will be more convenient to slice the lamb on a cutting board and then place the meat onto a platter; it's just easier and more efficient to do this in the kitchen and not at the dining table. 
  2. Remove the potatoes to a serving dish. None of that fancy surround the lamb with them! Forget about it! Make things easy for yourself on this busy day.
  3. For those who want jus, strain the fat out the pan juices, then pour them into a gravy bowl. 
  4. This year we served everything buffet style by placing all the dishes on the server in the dining room. We had two tables set for guests, and both tables were within close proximity of the server; everyone helped themselves. One of the best ideas ever!!!!! It was informal and a lot of fun. And it was also more enjoyable for moi, the hostess!!!