12 March 2008

Breakfast for Dinner

The Girlfriend requested breakfast for dinner, and I was all too happy to oblige. Specifically, she was looking for a sort of Greek omelet: spinach, lamb, and goat cheese, but she wanted something other than spinach. I love these kind of challenges, so here's the menu I created.

First off, let's look at spinach alternatives. While here in the South there are plenty of greens available, I generally substitute rapini (broccoli raab) or Swiss chard. I settled on the latter this time. Now, if you've never purchased this relative of the beet, it can look a little odd at the store. The stalks and veins are white, yellow, pink, and red, and the leaves are often wilted and droopy. I've never had problems in the past, but this time I decided to cut a half inch off the bottom of the stalks and allow capillary action to soak up some water while the leaves sat in a glass. The next morning the chard leaves were all standing at attention, but since the standard method of cooking involves getting rid of as much water as possible, I realized that I hadn't really accomplished anything.

When prepared as a side dish, I chop the stems, sautée them until soft, and then add the chopped leaves and cook those until wilted. Here I just used the leaves, wilted in a small bit of oil. A huge bunch of leaves condenses down to a very small final product--keep that in mind.

For a wine, I decided on an Italian Prosecco. The NV Cantine Maschio Prosecco Brut is a crisp, dry sparkling wine that has a nice touch of acidity but isn't overwhelming. The Girlfriend mixed hers with some orange juice for a little mimosa action. I demurred from the cocktail, but at $12 this wine would be great for brunch or bellinis or even fried chicken/BBQ: two of my favorite foods with sparkling wine. I find that generally if you can't figure out a good match for something, a sparkler or a rosé often works well.

Since I didn't have any leftover roast leg of lamb on hand, I instead chose to trim the bones off a rack of lamb and roast it. The bones and attached meat were roasted in the oven and then simmered with organic chicken stock for a few hours to create a little easy lamb stock, which after cooling went into the freezer for future use. The resulting log of meat looked much like a pork tenderloin. I dusted it with some sea salt and fresh ground pepper and then seared the little ribeye roast in a stainless steel skillet. After it was nicely browned, I threw it into a 350° oven until it reached a medium-rare internal temp of 135°. Then a rest period, followed by slicing the roast into little half-inch steaks. The end result combines the delicious flavor of lamb with the look and texture of prime rib.

Lamb ribeyes aren't an original idea; aside from having it at the Brooks recently, there's a good recipe on the Stags Leap website. On the side I made some sweet potato hash browns, and freshly sliced cantaloupe was also provided. As for the overall meal, it was a nice variation on the old steak and egg special at Waffle House. The lamb ribeyes were delicious and so easy that I can see using them for appetizers and other purposes. The omelet was one of the best I've ever had, and the sweet potatoes provided a nice touch of sweetness and less starch than your standard white potatoes.

1 comment:

Jake said...

I am not quite sure why I bother with this blog because as I type my mouth waters. Great menu - now to finish off nibbling on my digestive.