A simple preparation for lamb that tastes of sunshine and blue skies whilst allowing the inherent flavour of the lamb to shine through. Best cooked on the BBQ for that charcoal edge of holiday flavour, this recipe will easily translate to an indoor grill pan or even a super hot frying pan. Give the marinade as long as you can, certainly no less than an hour; the meat itself only takes minutes to cook. Although fruit and salad vegetables are usually best served at room temperature, this salad works really well with ice cold produce on a hot sunny day. The olives add all the salt that you need but you could throw in a few anchovies as well if you like.
A few points to note…
If you can get dried Greek oregano (known as rigani) then use that as it is wonderful; a handful of fresh oregano after cooking adds an extra dimension. If you can’t get rigani, then use half dried oregano, half fresh thyme. Only a tiny amount of olive oil is necessary, otherwise it will cause flare ups on the grill.
When preparing the garlic, flatten the unpeeled cloves with the flat side of a large knife so that they are broken yet still intact. Garlic burns very easily so what you want is to infuse the meat with subtle flavours before it goes on the grill. You can make the salad ahead of time but make sure that you leave out the salt and dressing ingredients until you are ready to serve.
When threading the lamb onto the skewers don’t compress the pieces too much or they won’t cook well. You could add onion quarters or even pieces of pepper if you want to but they won’t be on the grill for very long so will most likely not cook through. It may therefore be best to cook these on the barbecue in advance and then add to the skewers with the lamb; the vegetables will then warm through whilst the lamb is cooking.
If you have metal skewers then these are better for transferring heat to the centre of the meat when cooking. If you don’t have any then you can use bamboo skewers as an alternative but make sure that you soak them before threading the meat. When grilling the lamb you can tell how cooked it is by pressing it with a finger. The firmer it is, the more well done it will be at the centre.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Inactive Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour and 25 minutes
You will need 4 metal skewers (or bamboo)
For the lamb:
400g lamb leg, cubed
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
For the lamb marinade:
6 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried oregano (see above)
1 large lemon, juice only
1 tsp olive oil
For the salad:
500g ripe tomatoes (in a variety of colours if possible), chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
25g green olives
25g Kalamata olives
1/2 red onion, sliced
Fresh parsley, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad dressing:
Red wine vinegar
1. Toss the cubed lamb in the marinade ingredients, but do not add salt at this stage.
2. Leave the lamb to soak in the marinade for at least 1 hour.
3. In the meantime; mix the salad ingredients together but omit the seasoning and dressing.
4. Thread the lamb onto the skewers so that the pieces just touch each other.
5. Place the lamb onto the BBQ (or indoor grill pan) and scatter with salt.
6. Cook for about 4 minutes each side; longer if you prefer well done.
7. Dress the salad with a splash of vinegar, a bigger splash of oil and season.
8. The exact quantities of vinegar to oil are up to you. Judge according to your taste!
9. Scatter the fresh oregano over the lamb and season as required.
10. Serve the lamb fresh off the BBQ with the salad, preferably outside with good company.
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