Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Family secret / Breast of lamb [Nick & Mike]

Mom and dad never had much money, yet I don’t remember ever wanting for anything. When you have a mom who’s Italian, there’s always pasta with gravy on the table or dishes that tasted great yet were very inexpensive to make. Here’s a great example: breast of lamb. I’ll bet no one has ever seen it on a restaurant menu. That’s because breast of lamb is always layered with tons of fat; you had to really dig deep to find those thin layers of lamb in between. But there was a wow factor… it tasted great. It was a poor man’s version of a well-marbleized rib eye steak.

This past July 4th weekend, I decided to create Mom’s breast of lamb recipe with Nick. Talk about an impossible task. Every butcher or grocery store I called in Columbus had never heard of breast of lamb, or never carried it. I even called several meat wholesalers, no luck. I finally tried ­­­Blues Creek at the North Market. They said they would get me a batch. I ordered 15 lbs and 2 days later I picked it up. Price? $1.79 a pound. Why so cheap? The high fat content.

Mom never parboiled the lamb when she made it, but it was so fatty my brother Tommy suggested to do it. After an hour or so we removed the ribs and let them cool. Nick took a bunch of lemons and squeezed them, and chopped garlic. We poured the juice and added the chopped garlic into a pot that held the lamb. We added oregano, and put the mixture into the refrigerator for several hours. The grill was fired up. I told Nick we had to be careful because the fat content was still high and would cause flames and burn the lamb. Finally they were done. Nick and I each took a section of the breast of lamb to taste… “Oh my gosh, the best lamb ever.”

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