Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Lamb Kebabs with Asparagus & Chilli Salad, Mint Yoghurt and Pitta

I just love Spring. When you awaken from the slumber of Winter and the ingredients start to change it is just such an exciting time to cook. I could be considered to be one of the most enthusiastic cooks, especially of seasonal food. And as the leaves start to appear on the trees my anticipation of a new cooking chapter makes me almost fit to burst.  Finally it arrives and the first spears of Asparagus start to poke through the soil, British Lamb appears back on the shelves and fresh herbs are back on the menu.  
Herby Lamb Kebabs with a warm Asparagus and Green Chill Salad, with Mint Yoghurt and Pitta
400g Lamb Mince
1 white Onion (Finely diced)
Handful of Herbs (Garlic Chives, Parsley and Mint)
Tbsp Coriander Seeds (Crushed)
Tsp Cumin Seeds (Crushed)
2 Green Chilli’s (Finely Diced)
Maldon Salt
Black Pepper
Get all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.. The best advice I can give when you are making kebabs, burgers or any meat dish that contains chopped vegetables is to chop them uber fine!! Even onion will cook inside a kebab if it is really finely diced (don’t grate as too much water is emitted from the vegetables and the kebabs won’t hold). I like to use those long wooden skewers as opposed to metal ones as I feel that the lamb grips to the skewer better, chop them in half and remove any splinters so that they fit in your griddle pan.
Make sure the Lamb Kebab is well seasoned and mixed well.

Buy chefs knives at the Great Dinner Recipes Store
To make the kebab simply grab a palm of the kebab mix, place the skewer in the middle and mould with your hands until a nice stable cone is achieved with the skewer running roughly down the centre of the lamb kebab. Make up the mix, this makes 8 and then put them in the fridge for 20 minutes to half an hour to firm up (this will prevent the kebab falling of the skewer when cooking).
Next, the Warm Salad:

You are going to need just a few items..
2 Small Cos lettuce (I had the red type) quartered lengthways
Handful of Asparagus Spears (Hard ends removed)
6 Small Sweet Green Chilli’s (from the freezer)
3 fat Spring Onions (chopped on the slant)

Prep your veg and set aside. Find a Frying pan that will be able to hold them all and move onto the dressing.

For the dressing:

Hot Mustard (I had Pilgrims Pantry Mustard with herbs, if you ever see it you have to buy it!!)
Glug of Cider Vinegar (1Tbsp)
Three glugs of Rapeseed Oil (3 Tbsp)
Good pinch of Maldon Salt
Black Pepper

Get all of the ingredients in an old clean jar and shake until emulsified. Have a taste and if you need to correct the oil, do so. If you need a little more Cider Vinegar go for it! Dressings are very personal, when you’re done with your mustard dressing set aside.

Next you want a little cooling minty, yoghurt to go on the side.. Especially if one of those Green Chilli’s turns out to be a hotty! This is basically an Indian Raita, goes great with lamb or spicy food.

200gm Organic Plain Yoghurt
10cm section Cucumber
Handful of Mint
Squeeze Lemon or Lime Juice
Tsp of Caster Sugar
Maldon Salt
Black Pepper

Chop out these central sections of the cucumbers in a long diagonal cut, I love to eat that bit! Then finely dice the cucumber. Place in a bowl. Chop up the mint finely, get it in the bowl. Follow with the Sugar, Salt, Pepper, Lime juice and Yoghurt and then give it all a stir. There should be plenty of salty yoghurt that has a slight freshness from the mint, a cooling background from the cucumber and most of all that’s tasty. Have a play around until it’s just right, you’ll love this and make it again and again once you have got it sorted (great with Chilli too). Once done, get it in the fridge and prepare to cook your dinner.
To the cooking..

You’ll need a couple of frying pans both big enough to hold loads of veg or the lamb kebabs. Get plenty of Rapeseed Oil in both and firstly get the Kebabs in. Make sure the pan is nice and hot and start them frying. After a minute or two, turn the kebabs, you want a crisp caramelisation on the kebabs (burned bits ; -)  When they are half cooked it’s time to get your vegetables on.

In a separate pan (large) heat up some rapeseed oil, get it really hot! Then place in your lettuce. You want to cook the lettuce really quickly, but not through. Get some colour on the lettuce, turn it and then cook the other side – you don’t want the lettuce cooked through and soggy, still crisp in the middle. When cooked, place the lettuce in a mixing bowl and fry of the Chilli’s. Half the Chilli’s and fry until cooked (place in the salad bowl). Then the Asparagus and Spring Onions, fry until you have a little colour (again really hot), then add a splash of water. When the water is evaporated tip the Asparagus and spring onions (along with the cooking oil) into the salad bowl. Dress with your dressing (toss the vegetables in the dressing) and then get ready to plate up.

Your Lamb Kebabs should be cooked through with a lovely crispy edge, your vegetables cooked but still crunchy, dressed in the mustardy dressing. Add some toasted Pitta breads to the plates and you’re away..! 

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