Recipe One – The Sheaf Lamb Salad
February 25, 2010 § Leave a comment
I decided to start the ball rolling last night with a home attempt of my favourite pub dish – the smoked lamb and pumpkin salad from Double Bay’s The Golden Sheaf.
This salad is (hands down) my favourite thing on that menu, the generous serve of tender lamb is nestled between dressed baby spinach leaves, sweet roast pumpkin and a deliciously smooth yoghurt cheese, topped with raw pinenuts. For this I am happy to pay $22, but the noise, the crowd, the heat and the overconfident males has recently made me hesitate getting my fix. That was before my friend (another lamb salad aficionado) suggested ‘home Sheaf’ night with a bottle of red and the So You Think You Can Dance final 18!
We split the shopping list, I was in charge of lamb (I bought two backstraps from the butcher and at $44/kg I became more impressed with the value of the salad at the pub) and yoghurt cheese (labneh). The latter was more difficult to come by but I found a tub in Norton St Grocer, marinating in an oil with sweet paprika. The cheese was lovely but again quite expensive – I am a student after all – but I came home to do some research and have now discovered an apparently easy and foolproof recipe for making labneh at home [yet to be tested, watch this space!].
My friend roasted the pumpkin in a hot oven with a generous drizzle of olive oil for 50 minutes until it became soft and slightly caramelised on the edges. I coated the lamb in a spice mix of sweet paprika, cumin, garlic and oregano and cooked it about 3 minutes each side before letting it rest in foil for 5 or so minutes (10 would be better but we were too excited to wait!) This cooking time resulted in lamb with a pink centre that retained the full flavour of the meat. Then it was simply a case of tossing the spinach leaves with a dressing (whisk 1 crushed clove garlic, 1tbs balsamic, 1 tbs olive oil & 1tsp dijon mustard), adding the pumpkin and inch thick slices of lamb and tossing it all together in a big bowl. We transfered it to serving plates, topped them with the cheese and pinenuts (we used untoasted pinenuts and I liked that rawness, I think that toasting them would be too oily flavour-wise with the rich lamb and dressing).
And then we cheers’d ourselves, poured a glass of wine and watched other people sweat it out on the television!
For a first attempt I think we did really well, next time I would reduce the quantity of dressing (see the above recipe) and I’ll try homemade cheese. The cost probably came to $12 a serve and I love being able to go back for seconds!