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Mediterranean flavors for the all-American grill

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Pesto Grilled American Lamb Chops With Couscous and Mediterranean Salsa
American Lamb Pitas With Roasted Peppers, Cucumbers and Feta
Grilled American Lamb Kabobs With Orzo

When you fire up your backyard grill this summer, head for the sunny Mediterranean - at least in flavor. Think sweet,tender and mildly flavored American Lamb, luscious on the grill and available year 'round at the meat counter. Then give it a savory and delicious flair with roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, prepared pesto, fresh cucumbers and feta cheese. Include side dishes made with easy-to-prepare couscous or orzo, pita bread warmed over the coals and fresh tomatoes - and you'll be California grillin'. Toast your backyard feast with a glass of great wine and say "santé!" to summer.

For more information and delicious summer fare, visit www.woodbridgewines.com, www.worldfood.com or www.lambinfo.com

Food and Wine

"Wine is for enjoyment, not something to fuss over," says David Akiyoshi, winemaker of Woodbridge Winery in California. "At Woodbridge, we feel there's no beverage more versatile for outdoor entertaining than wine." David recommends the following limited-release wines, made from the winery's best vineyards, to complement these summer grilling recipes.

Woodbridge Select Vineyard Series Fish Net Creek Old Vine Zinfandel - this spicy wine is made with small intense grapes from 50 to 80-year-old-vines and would nicely complement the Pesto Grilled American Lamb Chops and the American Lamb Pitas.

Woodbridge Select Vineyard Series Red Dirt Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon - the ripe blackberry and rich vanilla flavors of this Cabernet would taste great with the Grilled American Lamb Kabobs With Orzo.

Or, be adventurous and experiment. Try all the wines, including Ghost Oak Chardonnay and Clay Hollow Merlot, and decide which is your favorite.

How to best serve and store wine:

  • Serve white wines cool - two hours in the refrigerator should do the trick. Red wines should be served slightly cooler than room temperature to maintain the fruit characteristics and freshness.

  • Keep wines cool in the outdoor summer heat by placing them on ice in a galvanized steel bucket or other large container.

  • Corkscrews come in many shapes and designs. Use the style that you're most comfortable with - and always have an extra on hand.

  • Don't stress about glassware. If you're short on glasses, ask guests to bring their own. Or, for a more casual feel, serve your wine in colorful plastic tumblers or cups.

  • Leftover wine will stay fresh for a week if recorked after opening. Store white wines in the refrigerator. Leave reds at room temperature if you plan to drink them within a day. Otherwise, refrigerate and return to room temperature before serving.

Drink what you like.
In general, the occasion and your personal taste will influence which wines are - or may become - your favorites.

Pesto Grilled American Lamb Chops With Couscous and Mediterranean Salsa

Ingredients
Salsa
  • 1 (13-ounce) jar Peloponnese roasted florina peppers, drained and cut into 1 1/2-inch strips
  • 1/2 (6-ounce) jar Peloponnese pitted kalamata olives, drained and halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Lamb and Couscous
  • 6 American Lamb loin chops (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto, divided
  • 1 (5.45-ounce) box Marrakesh Express sun-dried tomato couscous

Preparation
    1. In medium bowl, combine peppers, olives, onion, garlic, parsley, basil, olive oil and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
    2. Heat grill. Lightly brush both sides of each lamb chop with 1/2 teaspoon pesto. Place meat on prepared grill. Grill 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until meat reaches internal temperature of 160°F for medium doneness.
    3. Meanwhile, prepare couscous as package directs. Serve grilled lamb chops over couscous and top with Mediterranean Salsa.

Serves
Serves 6

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Tip: Any leftover salsa is great served on toasted baguettes.

American Lamb Pitas With Roasted Peppers, Cucumbers and Feta

Ingredients
  • 1 pound boneless shoulder or leg of American Lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small red onion, cut into small wedges
  • 1 small cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 medium Peloponnese roasted florina peppers, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 4 soft pitas or flatbread, warmed
  • 1/2 cup creamy cucumber salad dressing

Preparation
    1. In large plastic food storage bag, combine lamb, olive oil, lemon juice, mint, oregano and garlic. Marinate meat in refrigerator several hours or overnight.
    2. Heat grill. Alternately thread lamb and onion wedges onto each of 4 skewers. Grill lamb kabobs 8 to 10 minutes or until meat reaches internal temperature of 155¿ to 160¿F for medium doneness.
    3. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine cucumber, peppers and feta. To serve, place chopped grilled lamb and onions in pita bread, top with pepper and cucumber mixture and drizzle with dressing.

Serves
Serves 4

Grilled American Lamb Kabobs With Orzo

Ingredients
  • 1 pound boneless shoulder or leg of American Lamb, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small red onion, cut into small wedges
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 Peloponnese roasted florina peppers, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup Peloponnese pitted kalamata olives, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Preparation
    1. In large plastic food storage bag, combine lamb, 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary and garlic.
    2. Marinate meat in refrigerator several hours or overnight. Heat grill. Alternately thread lamb, zucchini and onion wedges onto each of 4 skewers. Meanwhile, prepare orzo as package directs.
    3. Place kabobs on heated grill. Grill 8 to 10 minutes or until meat reaches internal temperature of 155° to 160°F for medium doneness.
    4. Toss cooked pasta with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, peppers, olives and lemon zest. Serve kabobs alongside warm pasta.

Serves
Serves 4

SOURCE: American Lamb Board
Peloponnese Products
Woodbridge Wine


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