By 300 Sandwiches
We sat next to Kacey and Nemo at a wine tasting dinner Friday night. These two embody New York downtown chic—Nemo is an artist, filmmaker and a curator of all things cool; Kacey is his wife. We met each other at an art opening years ago, and every time I’m see them, I always end up in a better mood after our encounter than before.
While we were sitting at dinner, I told Kacey about E and I’s 300 sandwiches project. She immediately suggested a few recipes, including a lamb sandwich with fig jam and greens on a crusty baguette. Kacey, who used to work at the fabulous Jamaican restaurant Miss Lily’s, also sent me a recipe for her delicious homemade focaccia bread. I typed down her cooking notes in between decadent courses of risotto, beef, various wines and great conversation over dinner (don’t forget about our plans to go to Vermont, kids!).
The next night, E agreed to make leg of lamb for dinner if I make the sandwiches afterwards. E loves lamb, and loves to consult the Interwebs to learn new ways to prepare it. We found a fun video by good ol’ Gordon Ramsay for his version of leg of lamb. That man can make anything look gourmet. Though he’s known as a hothead, his YouTube cooking videos are quite fun to watch. They’re fast and furious, too fast to deal with silly things like measurements. But since they move so quickly and include few ingredients, I find them empowering. For example, the perfect steak in minutes, according to Ramsay: “Steak. Olive oil. Yes. Pan. Butter. Spices. Right. You’re good. Next.” Who can’t make steak dinner for two following those instructions?
E did a bang up job on the lamb—meat rubbed in a blend of spices, seared then roasted for an hour made for very tasty dinner. But the lamb made an even better sandwich the next day with greens and fig jam (would have loved to have made fresh, but figs are out of season. Luckily the expansive cheese counter at Fairway always has a few jars) just like Kacey suggested.
I packed up a few sammies for a quick Sunday trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. We’d been meaning to take a drive upstate to see the fall foliage, but our weekend schedules got so packed we couldn’t find the time. The fall colors were just as beautiful in a park just five minutes from our apartment, and we munched on the sammies in the car as snack as we flipped through photos of the colorful trees and plants from our nature walk.
1 3 to 5 pound leg of lamb
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne
1 tablespoon cloves
5 to 6 cinnamon sticks
10 sprigs thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 stalks celery, corsely chopped
3 carrots corsely chopped
2 bulbs fennel, chopped
1 onions, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil (plus an additional teaspoon or two for dressing greens)
2 tablespoons fig jam
2 4- to 6-inch baguettes
1 cup arugula
To prep lamb: take cinnamon, cumin, paprika, cloves, and cayenne and mix together in large bowl or coat the bottom of a large roasting pan with them. Then, take a small knife, and push through several holes into the lamb. Take cinammon sticks, wrap them each around a few springs of thyme and stick them in the holes. Rub spices all over the lamb.
Next, add a few tablespoons to a large roasting pan and brown coarsly chopped vegetables. After about 2 minutes or so, add your lamb. Sear meat for about 5 to 10 minutes, and drizzle another tablespoon or so olive oil on top. then pop into the oven at 300 degrees for 60 minutes. Remove, let rest. Carve.
Sandwiches: Bread, Fig jam. Lamb. Greens (dressed in the rest of the olive oil and herbs). Oven for a few minutes,just to get bread warm and toasted. Serve.
Gordon Ramsay’s video for leg of lamb is worth watching twice. He prepped it for Easter, but it’s good anytime of the year, particularly on a cold fall night.by