We love being invited to our friends Susan and Matt’s apartment for dinner. They are both great hosts. Susan always does a terrific job making special recipes, Matt always serves a wonderful single malt Scotch and our conversations are topical and stimulating, often revolving around politics. Susan worked closely for a state senator for many years and really knows the ins and outs of the system. This past week, we were invited there along with some old friends of theirs and Susan made the most amazing leg of lamb.
It was Herb and Honey Mustard Crusted Leg of Lamb from the September issue of Food and Wine magazine. But listen to this story – this is the great thing about living near an old fashioned butcher. The recipe calls for a boneless or butterflied leg of lamb, seasoned with the mustard paste, rolled and tied back up to form a roast, and then to put the bone back in the one end so it looks pretty. Her butcher, Frank at Ottomanelli on York Avenue and 82nd St. would be happy to butterfly it, but then she was nervous about tying it back up. No worries, Frank told her to bring her herb mustard mixture in to the store and he would spread it all around on the inside, salt and pepper it, and tie it back up all pretty, making a gorgeous roast and putting the decorative bone back in. Isn’t that the sweetest? So she arrived home all set to put this baby in the oven. Done!
TIP: I have found that most butchers in independent shops love to offer to do this type of work. They take ownership in their work, have a lot of pride in what they do and want to be a part of your meal. So next time, let them know what you’re trying to do and just ask!
Here’s her gorgeous plate.
And here’s the recipe for the delicious tomatoes. You know I love anchovies!!
TOMATOES NICOISE – from The New York Times by David Tanis
1 small shallot, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 tbs. red wine vinegar
3 tbs. olive oil
8 anchovies fillets, 2 finely chopped and 6 for garnish
2 tbs. roughly chopped black nicoise or oil cured olives, plus olives for garnish
6 small red tomatoes
12 cherry tomatoes in assorted colors
1 tbs. small capers, rinsed
12 basil leaves
Make the vinaigrette: Put shallot, garlic, salt, pepper and vinegar in small bowl. Macerate 10 minutes, then whisk in oil, chopped anchovies and chopped olives
Slice red tomatoes thickly and place on platter in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. Season cherry tomatoes with salt and dress with vinaigrette. Spoon cherry tomatoes over tomato slices.
Top each tomato slice with half an anchovy fillet, sprinkle with capers. Garnish with basil leaves and whole olives.
Serve at cool room temperature.