Lamb with Pistachio, Feta, & Preserved Lemon “Salsa”

I created this recipe for a couple of different friends who sell local lamb and wanted some new recipes to share with their customers. Below you’ll find instructions for a small sirloin roast and also for sirloin chops, but you can make this salsa and use it on roast leg of lamb, rack of lamb, or whatever cut you like.  I think it would even be good sprinkled over lamb stew. It’s also great on sandwiches made with leftover lamb.

Pastoral Plate is the meat CSA and buying club that I’ve been ordering chicken, beef, lamb, eggs, and other goodies from. Run by Jonathan Lewis, who personally visits all the farms from which he sources, Pastoral Plate is a great source for local meats in San Francisco that I highly recommend. They’ve also been selling a killer sheep’s milk feta that would be great in this recipe, but any good feta will do.

Casa Rosa Farms is run by my friends Rachel and Anthony in Madeira (whose house in Oakland I used to live in). They raise gorgeous California Red sheep and just started selling their organic olive oil and meats at the Kensington Farmers’ Market and the Alameda Farmers’ Market. If you like videos of adorable lambs, fan them on Facebook.

To accompany my lamb, I cooked up a little farro and tossed it with steamed broccoli rabe, golden beets, and a super light blend of tahini and plain yogurt. It was fantastic with a glass of rosé on a recent warm night.

For the marinade:

Make a paste of

1 garlic clove pounded with salt

1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout spice blend

1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or mild cayenne)

A little olive oil

A few drops of sherry vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Spread over roast or chops and let marinate for a day in the fridge

If making a roast, preheat oven to 200 degrees and remove roast from refrigerator. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add a little olive oil. Brown the roast all over and transfer to the oven. Roast for about 2 hours until the temperature inside is 140 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest before slicing.

While the roast cooks, prepare the salsa:

For the salsa:

1/4 cup finely chopped lightly toasted shelled pistachios

1/4 of a preserved lemon (rind only) rinsed and chopped finely

About 3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

1 green garlic, chopped finely (or one small clove of mature garlic if green garlic not in season)

1 generous handful parsley leaves, chopped finely

A few mint leaves, chopped finely

A few glugs of olive oil

Freshly ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients, adding the olive oil last, until the salsa is chunky but spoonable.

If making chops, prepare the salsa before you start cooking. Grill them over a medium hot fire to desired doneness or cook them in a hot non-stick skillet with a little olive oil.

Serve slices of the roast or whole chops with the salsa spooned over. Sorry about the blurry photos. It was dark! But I promise it tastes good, even if it doesn’t look so great.

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