Case in point: Crow’s family farm in Shawnee, Oklahoma. They showed up at the OKC Farmer’s Market this past Saturday with large, “real-smelling” red, yellow and green tomatoes. And while I appreciated the fact that they still had a few purple shelled peas, some pumpkin puree and a few other items, my brain was already dreaming up the week’s meals with plates covered in orange-yellow, low-acid tomatoes.
After a quick stop by the herb section to grab thyme (mine died in the drought last year), I then headed to the Urban Agrarian to think about my centers of the plate. I wanted…Spring, earthy and “Easter-ish.” My solution included some Cordero Farms Lamb Steaks and four ounces of fresh Della Terra fresh pappardelle pasta. I bought a few other things like a nice package of Cacioavera and some purple asparagus just for good measure, then headed home to cook good things!
I thought through all kinds of possibilities in the car on the way home, but settled on this dinner for hubby and I: Grilled Herbed Lamb Steak with Green and Yellow Tomato Pappardelle.
When making this meal, it is best to prep the lamb steaks at least 1 or 2 hours before grilling. Refrigerating overnight could be even better. Lamb steaks are tender cuts of meat and delicious choices for center of the plate. They’re also a little less expensive than lamb chops but still pack a nice punch for a special dinner. You’ll even notice that there is a nice natural segmentation straight across the center within the muscle so if want to cut them in half and serve light portions to two people, it’s an easy task.
In the food processor mix:
1 tsp sea salt; 3 garlic cloves; 4 sage leaves; strip one 6″ sprig of rosemary; 6-8 mint leaves. Pulse until well minced. Make sure and breathe deeply for a nice aroma-therapy session while you cook! Add 1/4 c. olive oil. Pulse until well blended. Then coat your lamb steaks, place in a storage bag or cover if in on a plate and let them rest/marinate for at least 1-2 hours. Mix and/or turn bag occasionally for full infusion.
Now that your lamb is marinating you can wait a bit to prep the pappardelle. It only takes 30 minutes from beginning to end for this dish.
1 large green tomato; 2 large yellow tomatoes; 2-3 garlic cloves; 1/3 large red onion; 1/3 large red bell pepper; 3-4 good sized Shitake or other mushrooms; about 6 good sized basil leaves; and, 2-3 stems of thyme. Prep your veggies: I dice the green tomatoes smaller than the yellow to give a variety of sizes and textures; mince the garlic, rough dice the mushrooms, julienne the bell, dice the onion, chiffonade the basil and strip the stems of thyme.
Add about 2-3 T olive oil to a saute pan that has been preheated on a medium flame. Toss in the onions and bell peppers, cook until slightly tender. Then add the garlic, green tomatoes and mushrooms. Toss and saute until mushrooms have reduced a bit and the onions are almost clear. Add one glass of white wine (around 8 oz), the herbs and yellow tomatoes. Cook for about 20 minutes. I cover my pan to conserve heat but keep the lid cracked a bit to allow steam to escape. We need the wine to reduce. You’ll also need to add sea salt to taste at some point. I would start with about 1 tsp then go up from there.
Get your pasta water ready:
The next steps of your meal come together very quickly. Fresh pasta cooks in 3-4 minutes; the Della Terra has been slightly air dried. However, fresh non-dried cooks VERY quickly: 2.5-3 minutes. The main rules for pasta: make sure you have a good quantity of water to completely cover your pasta, make sure it is at a rolling boil when you toss in the pasta to cook, and feel free to add salt and/or a tiny bit of oil to your water to raise the temp and help your noodles stay apart when you first drain the water. Everyone has their own pasta regimen, but mine is – when it starts floating and rolling, it’s usually done.
The steps I choose to assemble my plate was to cook and drain the pappardelle. Toss the lamb steak on an open, med-high flame (I used a charcoal grill, 3 minutes per side for a nice med-medium rare finish). Then, as your grilled steak is resting for 2-3 minutes after pulling it off the grill, plate the pasta. Some people use pappardelle as a “nest” and ladle sauce on top. Others blend the sauce gently with the noodles. I blended, but either works.
These types of meals turn me into a rather uncouth human being. I eat too fast, make all kinds of “nummy noises,” pick up slices of lamb with my fingers and wipe my plate of the last bit of steak juice and marinate. REALLY uncouth.
But so delicious.
Next week I’ll have enough harvest from my own garden to highlight meals from there. Until then, I just wanted to give a shout out to my home department at OSU. I’m leaving the university soon and they held a reception for me. One of my favorite gifts was a copy of the Oklahoma Gardener’s Guide by Steve Dobbs. I will forever have OSU in my heart and look forward to many campus visits this next year while finishing my dissertation.
Loyal and true ~~