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Gigot d'agneau - My Easter leg of lamb dish

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ChrisFlanders View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09 April 2012 at 09:35

After chasing bunnies yesterday, I made this Easter dinner. Lamb is so traditional on Easter, so why not? I bought this "gigot d'agneau" (leg of lamb), kind of the most popular cut, together with rack of lamb. I had no idea what to serve it with, but I bought a number of vegetables, amongst them a few aubergines (eggplant), premeditatedly; it's a perfect match with lamb but not a very regular addition to lamb over here. Then I noticed that I had still a pot of tahini in my fridge. Aha, baba ganoush maybe? Then I decided to made this odd combination that worked really well, as a taste and as a visual. I have to come up with a name for that preparation. Anyone?

Gigot (lamb leg). The piece I had is not an entire leg as you can see. One thing I totally hate is lamb fat, so it comes off; many cooks will look at me as if I was cursing in church for doing this, so if you like the fat, just leave it. The whole thing gets in a good splash of sunflower oil, coarsely ground black pepper, rosemary and chunks of garlic. I let it marinate around an hour, turning often. After that I salt generously first and brown it nicely on all sides in a hot pan. Time to go into the oven at 180°C/350°F for around 30 minutes and a very long rest afterward, loosely wrapped in aluminium foil. This resting will redistribute all juices in the meat, relax the muscle which will tender up the meat. Also, most importantly, resting prevenst the juices from leaking out on your cutting board!! I overcooked the piece a little, I prefer it more red. Scoop the fat off from the cooking juices, add a little veal stock and reduce shortly. A simple jus like this works very well with lamb. One important note; always use a lot of seasoning on lamb or it will come out very bland.

Aubergines (eggplant). Another experiment that will be repeated! Cut the aubergine in half and empty with a parisienne spoon. Scrape out most of the flesh leaving just 2-3 millimeter. Sprinkle and wipe a good dash of lemonjuice in the aubergine boat and salt. Put in the freezer for half an hour to stiffen, it will be easier to work with... Peel and cook some potatoes and mash them while hot. Meanwhile, fry the chunks of aubergine you took out of the plant in a very hot pan with oil. s&p. Take your time for this, they have to be completely done, test with the tip of a knife. Add to the warm potato mash. Add a few generous tbsp of tahini, Ras el Hanut, a good chunk of butter (the tahini makes the mixture somewhat dry), chopped parsley and/or cilantro, good dash of olive oil and a lot of lemon juice to counterpart the sweet-ish tahini; taste how much lemon it needs! Mix well. Take the aubergine boats from the freezer and fill. They go in the oven together with the lamb for the same cooking time.

Tomatoes. I learned this in the south of France decades ago. Cut the tomatoes in half. Make a mixture of breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, butter, s&p and mix well. Spread on the tomatoes and put in the oven until golden brown. So simple, so delicious... but seriously better when using sunripened tomatoes of course.

The result. Well, the aubergine experiment will indeed be repeated. But, look at the dish, this is such a typical mistake in plating. It's too overcrowded and the different elements of the dish are not in the right proportions. Next time I'm gonna quarter the aubergines. That will be so much more in proportion or balance with the rest of the presentation.

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 April 2012 at 09:52
Well, in spite of the plating (which looks great to me), the food itself looks incredible, Chris - a very fine Easter feast!
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ChrisFlanders View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChrisFlanders Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 April 2012 at 09:58
Thanks Ron, likewise a very nice Easter to you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 April 2012 at 11:55
You're so right about needing a lot of seasoning with lamb, Chris. I usually lard it with the garlic and rosemary, as well as marinating, to help the flavors infuse through the meat.
 
Just a thought: Can you get mini-eggplants over there. They hit the markets here a couple of years ago. Imagine splitting the one you have pictured at the equator. The part on the blossom end is about the size one of these minis would produce when halved.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 April 2012 at 12:18
Looks like a mighty fine meal to me! Very nice Chris.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ChrisFlanders Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 April 2012 at 05:21
Oh yes, why didn't I think of those cute mini aubergines, I can get them in an ethnic store. They even have a few variations... Very good thinking Brook, thanks!
Thanks Mike, it was indeed very enjoyable!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 April 2012 at 05:32
Very good thinking Brook, thanks!
 
Yeah, well, that's why I get the big bucks. Approve
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 February 2013 at 10:52
Originally posted by ChrisFlanders ChrisFlanders wrote:

Tomatoes. I learned this in the south of France decades ago. Cut the tomatoes in half. Make a mixture of breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic, butter, s&p and mix well. Spread on the tomatoes and put in the oven until golden brown. So simple, so delicious... but seriously better when using sunripened tomatoes of course.

I'm thinking that this colourful tomato dish might make a good side for my bacalao al pil-pil that I will be making this weekend. The Beautiful Mrs. Tas likes tomatoes, and this seems like an easy and delicious way to highlight the cod and its sauce ~ Beautiful red for contrast, and perfectly themed for the Saint Valentine's Day weekend and a late anniversary dinner.
 
It might take a little guessing as to the time and temperature, but I'm thinking more and more that this might work very well visually, and where taste compliments are concerned. Many Basque dishes feature cod with tomato, so I think it will be good ~
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