Okay, it’s May, and that means it’s finally warm enough here in New England to pull out those grills that have been sequestered for months in the garage. We can start seriously cooking outdoors once again. And, I have the perfect recipe to initiate the new season. Lamb, Date, and Red Pepper Brochettes are easy, colorful, and quick to prepare.
Cubes of lamb, first marinated in a Moroccan-style mixture of lemon juice, cumin, paprika, cayenne, garlic, and olive oil, are then slipped onto skewers along with pitted Medjool dates and squares of red bell pepper. The sweet fruit and peppers make a complementary foil to the tart lemon-scented morsels of lamb. For simple sides, serve these skewers with couscous seasoned with a good pinch of turmeric–to give it a rich bright color and an interesting taste–and with blanched or roasted zucchini.
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing the skewers and for the grill
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/4 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
One medium red bell pepper
12 to 14 Medjool dates, pitted and halved lengthwise
4 metal skewers or 4 long wooden skewers (See note.)
3 to 4 teaspoons chopped flat leaf parsley
1. In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, olive oil, minced garlic, and salt. Place lamb cubes in a shallow nonreactive dish or in a large, self-sealing plastic bag. Pour marinade over lamb and cover with plastic wrap or seal plastic bag, and refrigerate. Marinate, turning several times, at least 2 hours or up to 6 hours. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before grilling.
2. When ready to grill meat, oil a grill rack and arrange it 4 to 5 inches from heat source. Prepare grill for a hot fire (high temperature). Halve the pepper, remove seeds and membranes, then cut into 1-inch squares. Remove lamb from marinade and skewer, alternating cubes with red peppers and dates. Brush lamb, peppers, and dates lightly with olive oil.
3. Grill lamb skewers, turning often so that lamb and vegetables cook on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes. When done, lamb should be rosy pink inside and peppers charred around the edges. Watch carefully as cooking time can vary depending on type of grill used.
4. Place each skewer on a serving plate and sprinkle with some chopped parsley. Serves 4
Note: if using wooden skewers, soak them in water 30 minutes, then pat dry.
© Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2011
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