I got to thinking…….what would other cultures eat if they were to have the standard ‘Meat & Three Veg’? It was quite fun actually and my first attempt at a Greek version was rather pleasing. Plump and tender ‘Curly tails’ marinated in red wine, garlic & herbs were grilled to perfection on the BBQ. They rested on a bed of silky cauliflower skordalia (a Greek version of mash) with chargrilled asparagus and sweet, oven roasted tomatoes. It may not be authentic but it was yum!
Prep time: 25 Minutes Cooking time: 30 Minutes $ Low Budget
Marinating time: 2 Hours but the longer the better
8 x lamb loin chops
2 tbs of EV olive oil + extra for drizzling
1 cup of red wine
1 tbs of balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
Grated rind of 1 lemon
8 thyme sprigs
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed
6 sprigs of oregano
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick, bruised with your knife
sea salt and cracked pepper
8 baby truss tomatoes
2 bunches of asparagus (broccolini would be nice if asparagus unavailable)
For the Skordalia:
60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
400gm cauliflower (about ½ small cauliflower), roughly chopped
1 eschallot, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 thyme sprigs
1 fresh bay leaf
Sea salt and cracked pepper
In a mixing bowl combine the two tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, thyme, oregano, rosemary, lemon rind, balsamic vinegar, cinnamon stick and bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Give the herbs and garlic a really good squeeze with your hands, munching them up and releasing all of the oils and flavours. Wash your hands and pour in the red wine, stirring to combine. Place the lamb chops in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over the top, again massaging with your hands to get all of those flavours really penetrating the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Heat a large saucepan for the skordalia and add the olive oil. Once hot lightly fry the cauliflower, eschallot and garlic on a fairly low heat for 8-10 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender. Add the milk, bay and thyme leaves and season generously with salt and pepper. Place a lid on, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is really tender. Once super tender use a stick blender or food processor to process the mixture until it is silky smooth. I made this ahead and reheated just before use.
Pre heat the oven to 180°C. Place the truss tomatoes on a lined baking tray and drizzle with EV olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place them in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the skin is blistering.
Heat a barbecue grill or griddle pan. Trim the woody ends of the asparagus and place on the grill for about 6 minutes, turning halfway. When the asparagus is nice and bright green in colour move to the side to keep warm. Place the chops on the BBQ plate and cook on both sides for about 5 minutes for medium. Once the chops have seared and caramelised on either side you can pour over the remaining marinade a little at a time. You don’t want to drown them as the chops will broil and won’t have that lovely charred flavour. Remove from the BBQ and pop on a plate to rest for a few minutes.
To plate up, divide the skordalia between four plates making a nice well in the centre. Lay the asparagus across the centre and top with a couple of curly tails. Place the tomatoes on top and drizzle over any remaining juices.