Monday, March 16, 2009

Two Light Entrees for Early Spring

This time of year I really enjoy lightening up our weekly menus. Less soup. Less hearty. More lemon. More Green. The lamb we ate last night was a perfect early spring meal, and very easy to pull together. Two meals are on the sidebar with no attached recipes. Here's what you do to create them at home.

Lamb Roulade with Rosemary and Gorgonzola
If this combination doesn't appeal to you, try another, like Feta and Fresh Oregano

Pick up leg of lamb (about 6-8 ounces per person - or more if you'll need to remove lots of fat), fresh rosemary, Gorgonzola and asparagus. Oh, and some greens and a pear for a salad. And some kitchen twine if you don't have it.

Preheat a skillet and the oven to 375. I was cooking for two and just used my toaster oven rather than the full oven.

Unroll the lamb and trim off all the fat - even the stuff hiding inside.

Finely chop about 1 T rosemary.

Sprinkle the lamb on both sides with kosher salt. Arrange it back together as if you were reassembling it and sprinkle the rosemary on top. Top with crumbled Gorgonzola - just a tablespoon or less - and sort of push it into the gaps.

Take a piece of twine and wrap around the outside of the lamb and pull it together to create a little bundle.

Spray skillet with canola spray and sear both sides of the lamb, cooking each side for about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the asparagus, lay on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Set aside.

Transfer the lamb to a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, depending on thickness and cooking preference. Toward the end of its cooking time, slide the asparagus into the oven and roast for about 3-5 minutes or to your liking.

Let the lamb sit for at least five minutes before slicing and serving. For a more individual presentation, you can trim the lamb into individual portions and prepare a tied bundle for each person. It's more work, but it does look lovely when plated.

Lemon Chicken Fricasse
You will need a pounder or some muscle and a big serving spoon. Also, one boneless, skinless chicken breast per person, two lemons and fresh parsley.

Heat a non-reactive skillet over medium high heat.

Rinse and dry the chicken breasts and pound to a quarter-inch thickness.

Dredge in flour (with added salt and fresh pepper).

Add 1 T canola oil to the skillet and cook the chicken breasts, in batches if necessary. Cook both sides for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate if you're cooking in batches.

Finely chop 2 T fresh parsley and squeeze the juice from the lemons, straining out seeds.

Return the chicken to the skillet and add the lemon juice. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the parsley and a pinch of salt (many would add butter here, but I advise skipping it) and cook another minute. Serve immediately.

There you go - two light, early spring meals. Happy Monday!

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