Quick Tips and Tasty Tidbits
Great ways to serve California Lamb
California lamb, with its delicate flavor and succulent texture, is a versatile meat both in terms of the number of cuts available and its affinity to a wide range of flavors. Its wonderfully mild flavor is enhanced by a myriad of herbs, spices and marinades, making it a perfect fit for today's trend toward more flavorful and healthful ethnic dishes.
- Serve medium rare for the meat's best and most delicate, succulent qualities.
- When it comes to outdoor grilling season, lamb is a perfect choice whether you are preparing a quick weekday meal or entertaining family and friends.
- California lamb makes great kebabs. Just divide one of the less expensive cuts such as sirloin or shoulder into 1-inch cubes; coat with a favorite marinade; let stand in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours to add a flavor boost to every bite when threaded onto skewers with red bell pepper, red onion, and fresh mushrooms. A couscous salad will complete the meal.
- A boneless butterflied leg of lamb, or even a whole leg, because of the variation in thickness of the meat will provide different degrees of doneness for a crowd with different preferences.
- For a robust flavor of the Mediterranean, marinate a butterflied lamb leg in olive oil seasoned with fresh lemon juice, crushed garlic, and fresh rosemary. Salt and pepper before grilling.
- For an Asian flavor, baste the lamb with hoisin sauce while grilling.
- Slice cooked lamb very thin and serve in soft flour tortillas with shredded scallions and cucumber for a new take on Chinese crispy pancakes.
- Marinate lamb cutlets in herbs and red wine; grill and served tapas style accompanied by kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, grilled slices of eggplant, and crumbled feta cheese.
- A savory fresh peach salsa makes grilled lamb steaks very special.
- For a gourmet burger, salt and pepper ground lamb; add minced garlic, onion, bell pepper and parsley. Grill until no pink shows in center (medium rare 145°F). Serve on focaccia rolls brushed with olive oil or aioli sauce and top with crumbled feta cheese, sliced tomatoes and red onions!
Buying and Storing California Lamb
1. When purchasing lamb, let color be the guide. Look for meat with a soft pink to red color with white marbling.
2. To maintain its outstanding flavor, fresh California lamb should be served within 4 days of purchase unless the package lists an extended use by date.
3. Meanwhile, keep lamb in its store packaging or loosely wrapped in plastic wrap or aluminum foil in the coldest part of the refrigerator at a temperature between 32˚F and 40˚F until ready to cook.
4. If the lamb, other than ground lamb, is to be stored more than 4 days, it should be frozen. Ground lamb should be used or frozen within 24 hours after purchase.
5. Lamb to be frozen should be tightly sealed in air-tight packaging to prevent freezer burn.
6. In the freezer, at 0˚F or lower, lamb will keep for up to 6 months. Frozen ground lamb is best when used within 4 months of purchase.
7. Defrost frozen lamb in the refrigerator, not at room temperature, securely wrapped and placed on a plate prevent juices from dripping.