Tuesday 30 June 2009

Warm lamb salad to woo women

My last flatmate before I got married was, shall we say, a socially active young man. Good-looking, funny, sporty and kind, while we shared that place there was a veritable revolving door on his bedroom and I considered getting the sofa steamcleaned.

But he had a problem. His first-date technique was superb - he would pack an insulated bag with strawberries, cheese and a bottle of chilled dessert wine, and take the girl to Balmoral Beach, for a lovely walk to a remote promontory, and there unpack the surprise picnic. Very nice. And then he had no follow up. What to do for a second date to match that show of sensitivity and caring?

So I taught him how to make this warm lamb salad. It's a good date meal because it isn't fiddly to eat, it's proper food but you don't feel weighed down after it, there isn't anything scary or exotic that might put a girl off. Unless she is vegetarian, which I think needs to be ascertained on the first date, not the second.

It's also one of Paul's favourites, and he got a bit grumpy with me for not having made it in ages. So I bought a part-boned lamb leg, he cooked it on the Weber over charcoal and hickory chips, and we made the best version of this warm lamb salad that has ever been seen. But I will write the recipe as I showed it to my flatmate, all that time ago. It really is a cracking salad. The butternut and veg can be prepared ahead of time and the dressing made and then the lamb gets a last minute flurry of activity.

Warm lamb salad (serves 2)

300g lamb backstraps
1/2 butternut, peeled and cut into small chunks
2 cloves of garlic, whole & peeled
1 bag baby spinach
1 block of feta
handful of toasted pinenuts
olive oil
dijon mustard
ground black pepper

- optional: ripe tomatoes, avocado, artichoke hearts

Toss the chunks of butternut and cloves of garlic in a little oil, place in a roasting dish and bake at 200C for half an hour until they are toasty at the edges, caramelly and gorgeous. Mash the soft, roasted cloves of garlic in a small bowl with a fork. Add a spoonful of mustard, some olive oil and balsamic and put the dressing aside until the end.

Season the lamb backstraps with ground black pepper, and pan fry them in a splash of oil to taste - about 4 minutes a side should be fine - and allow to rest.

In 2 big noodle bowls, arrange the spinach leaves, crumbled feta and toasted pinenuts (and avocado, artichoke hearts and anything else you are adding), top with the butternut. Slice the lamb on the diagonal into dainty girlie bitesize chunks and fan out faffily on top of the veg. Drizzle with the roasted garlic mustard dressing. Provide lots of napkins so she doesn't splash dressing on the silk blouse she bought to impress you.


Deb in Hawaii said...

Gorgeous salad and worthy of wooing just about anyone I think! ;-)

Stacey said...

That is definitely a first date that is hard to top! Good job helping him refine his second date skills!

The salad looks beautiful!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Deb - well it certainly worked for him!

Stacey - he's been with the same girl for a couple of years now, so he must have learned something!

kat said...

Sounds like you did some wooing with that salad too

HH said...

Oh wow! Sounds wonderful!! I would be wooed.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Kat - I did my wooing with tuna pasta!

HH - see? Girls love this stuff.

NKP said...

You could woo me with that for sure! In fact, I wish someone would.. I haven't had lunch yet...

Rachel said...

A funny and mouthwatering post. Hey, I had bookmarked your preserved grape leaves post a long while back and finally got around to harvesting and brining some of my own leaves and made dolmades. Thanks for the inspiration!

Jordana @ Menu Maniac said...

yum! I will definitely make this salad for my hubby. Love your blog. I have a feeling that I will try many of your recipes. http://menumaniac.blogspot.com

Alicia Foodycat said...

Natashya - you shouldn't read food blogs on an empty stomach!

Rachel - I hope they worked well! It's time to do ours for this year.

Jordana - thanks! Glad you like it.

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Ooh, I love this recipe.. Lamb and butternut..delicious. I will definitely be trying this. Lamb is another one of those treats that I soley enjoy. Can't get my hubby or daughter to eat it. But that shouldn't stop me now, should it? Of course not. Thanks for the great recipe and idea Foodycat.

Dharm said...

Great salad and an even better story!!! My wooing was done with desserts... LOL

Alicia Foodycat said...

Teresa - it always amazes me when people say they don't like lamb.

Dharm - the first thing I cooked for Paul was tuna pasta!


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