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Larb Gai

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Orange-marinated lamb with watermelon, avocado and minT

I had a dinner party this weekend but because it was so hot and humid outside, I needed a meal that didn’t require heating up the kitchen. This lamb recipe was a perfect mix of my favorite summer flavors. It was adapted from a recipe from the July 1996 issue of Good Housekeeping (UK).

Lamb marinated in a mixture of orange juice, zest, sherry, garlic, balsamic vinegar and honey.

Ingredients (serves 6)

Leg of lamb (butterflied, 3 lbs)

6-8 garlic cloves (roasted, from the supermarket olive bar)

4 oranges (zest and juice)

Sherry (8 oz)

Balsamic vinegar (8 tbsp)

Honey (4 tbsp)

Olive oil (4 tbsp)

Watermelon (1/2 “personal”-sized/small)

Avocado (2)

Spring onions (1/2 bunch, optional)

Mint (1/2 cup, chopped plus some leaves for garnish)



Start the marinating process the day before you want to serve the lamb. Cut 3-4 garlic cloves into slivers and insert them into the lamb. I used roasted garlic from the deli bar because I don’t like handling raw garlic. Feel free to use raw garlic if you prefer. Mince the rest of the cloves and mix them with the orange zest and juice, sherry, balsamic vinegar, honey, and olive oil. Submerge the lamb in the mixture and leave it for 18-24 hours. I poked the lamb with a fork and flipped it every 6-8 hours.

Salt and pepper the lamb before cooking on the grill/barbecue for about 10-15 minutes on a medium heat (450 degrees) then reduce the heat (350 degrees) and cook for another 15-20 minutes. Keep about ¼ of the marinade to baste the lamb while it’s on the barbecue. Boil the rest of the marinade until it starts to thicken and serve it at the table as a sauce.

Make the salad while the lamb is on the grill. Cut the watermelon into bite-sized cubes and sprinkle with about half of the mint. Slice the avocado into cubes, tumble it over the watermelon and sprinkle more mint. I find it easiest to cut avocados in half, score the flesh into cubes being carefully not to cut through the skin, and use a large spoon to scoop the flesh out of the skin. Use scissors to snip the green onions over the watermelon and avocado then drizzle balsamic-basil dressing sparingly over the top.

Fresh chunks of fresh watermelon and avocado spinkled with mint and balsamic dressing.

To add a little more substance to the meal, I also boiled some small potatoes, drained them, and tossed them with baby arugula leaves and more balsamic dressing. This side dish isn’t pretty (especially when you overcook the potatoes like I did) but it’s delicious either warm or at room temperature so you can make it an hour or so before you want to eat.

warm new potatoes tossed with baby or chopped arugula and balsamic dressing.

Once the lamb is cooked, slice the meat across the grain and serve it with the reduced marinade, watermelon-avocado salad, and arugula-balsamic potatoes.

We had some leftover marinade so I’ve been using it to flavor a couple of other meals this week. Last night, I simmered the marinade into syrup then reheated the last pieces of lamb. The syrup was tasty but lamb doesn’t really reheat very well. Unfortunately, not every meal is a complete success!

Tonight’s concoction was much better so look out for a post later this week.

Comments: 1 | Reply

Foodie 09/18/10 7:55 pm | Reply | 0 Agree | Abusive

Those recipes sound delicious. Great idea to have intentionally wilted arugula in the potato salad on a hot summer day.

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