Today’s dish is a taste of the Mediterranean using classic ingredients such as fresh garlic, olive oil, and nuts. We did a spin on a traditional gremolata by using mint and a touch of verjus. This dish can easily be prepared in 15 minutes-20 minutes and requires very little clean up. It is perfect for a summer barbecue as well. The lamb shanks can be tossed on the grill and served family style in the center of the table.
Some people are partial to lamb because of it’s gamy flavor. As the fat is rendered longer, you tend to taste more of that flavor. If it is prepared properly with a medium rare temp, you will not have an overly gamy dish.
What You Need
2-3 lamb shanks per person
fresh thyme (one sprig per shank)
6 sprigs of fresh mint leaves (stems removed)
1 lemon with zest
2 garlic cloves
1/4 t. dijon mustard
1 T. verjus (optional- substitute juice of 1/2 lemon.)
salt & black pepper
couscous (1 c. dry equals a little over 2 c. cooked)
1/4 c. pine nuts
2 small zucchinis
1 spring onion
2 T. mayonnaise
2-3 T. water
***SUGAR TIP: To make it easier, you can buy couscous with pine nuts already in it or you can add your own. If you have a traditional couscous vs. instant, it will take longer to prepare so keep that in mind when beginning this dish. You can use stock or water to prepare.
What To Do
On a large baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and arrange lamb shanks with even space between them across the sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Place one sprig of thyme on each shank and gently massage the seasonings including the thyme into the meat and allow to rest while preparing the remainder of the meal.
Remove the stems from your six mint sprigs and slice mint leaves add to a bowl. Mince 2 garlic cloves and add 2 T. olive oil, then combine the above amounts of verjus, dijon, and lemon juice. If you do not have verjus, use the juice of a whole lemon instead of a half. Zest the lemon and add to the mint leaves and garlic. Combine all ingredients using your fork to gently press the mint leaves into the bottom of the bowl. Set aside.
This can be done the day before for better results. Thinly slice a whole cucumber and place in a glass bowl. Sliver your spring onion into paper thin slices and place in bowl as well. In a mixing dish, add equal parts of mayonnaise and water which should be approximately 2 T. each. Use about a teaspoon of the juice from the mint gremolata to add a touch of bright flavor to your salad. Whisk together well and pour on top of the cucumbers and onions making sure that the onions are fully covered. You will want approximately 1/4 of the bowl to have the dressing in it to ensure proper marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Slice your zucchini into long slices and place in a small saute pan over low heat. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Allow to saute slowly while preparing the remainder of the dish stirring occasionally.
Prepare your couscous by adding 1 t. of butter into a small pot over medium heat. Allow butter to melt and add couscous stirring to coat. Add water to stir, and cover. Reduce heat to simmer and do not open until the moisture is absorbed. Fluff with a fork to separate.
While your couscous is cooking, you can sear your lamb shanks. In a large skillet over medium- high heat, add a drizzle of olive oil. Add the shanks to the pan evenly and sear evenly on each side. These only take about 3-4 minutes to cook per side.
Plate each dish and serve immediately. Pair with a nice syrah and enjoy!