Arugula Files is participating in the DC American Lamb Pro-Am. Thirteen local food bloggers received a boneless leg of lamb from Border Springs Farm and were challenged to prepare a great lamb dish for their readers. I'm happy to promote and recommend such a great, sustainable product. As they say, "American Lamb is 10,000 miles fresher." The best dishes will be presented at the American Pro-Lamb event on March 4. Vote for my dish!
This is a recreation of a dish I once had at P.F. Changs that I quite enjoyed. Yes, P.F. Changs, the chain restaurant. The one with the absurdly big horse statue in the front. Say no more.
The dish is a simple stir fry, but the toasted sesame seeds and crispy iceberg lettuce make it special. Iceberg lettuce. Wow, do I love thee. Iceberg lettuce has a bad (w)rap, largely attributable to its miscast role in the American salad, which is the last place it should be. People have called it the white bread of the produce aisle or likened it to red delicious apples. Both apt comparisons. But let's not be snobby about it. I think iceberg lettuce deserves recognition as a topping in a stir fry or a wrap; that's where it earns an encore. Here, it's the perfect contrast to this deliciously greasy lamb. The lamb. Oh, let me tell you about lamb because its source makes me so happy.
This particular lamb is from Border Springs Farm. Craig Rogers, the shepherd, raises his lambs humanely. They roam on the pasture, happy. See below. Oh if I only had a lamb for every time I've heard Mary had a little lamb! I'd be a lambillionaire.
The farm is located in Virginia and they welcome visitors. I would like to be there right now.
Border Springs supplies a number of fancy chefs in the area, including Brian Voltaggio of Volt, Mike Isabella of Graffiatto, and Nick Steffanelli of Bibiana. You can be a fancy chef too and order lamb directly from their website.
Arugula Files is participating in the DC American Lamb Pro-Am. Thirteen local food bloggers received a boneless leg of lamb from Border Springs Farm and were challenged to prepare a great lamb dish for their readers. I'm happy to promote and recommend such a great, sustainable product. As they say, "American Lamb is 10,000 miles fresher." The best dishes will be presented at the American Pro-Lamb event on March 4.
Wok Seared Lamb (Lettuce Wraps, or Over Rice)
Serves 4 as an appetizer or 2 as dinner
1 lb thinly sliced lamb from a leg of lamb
1/4 cup cornstarch for dredging
3 tbs vegetable oil
3/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbs kecap manis (or more to taste)
2 tbs sesame sauce
1 tbs sherry vinegar
3 tbs (or more) toasted sesame seeds
1 cup short grain japanese style rice plus a tbs of rice vinegar
handful chopped cilantro
1 head iceberg lettuce
1. Mix soy sauce, kecap manis, sesame sauce, sherry vinegar. Taste sauce. If you like it a little sweeter, add more kecap manis. If you do not have kecap manis, which is a sweet syrupy soy sauce, then use molasses or brown sugar to sweeten the sauce. Use half the sauce to marinate the lamb for about 1 hour and set the rest a side.
2. Meanwhile, toast sesame seeds in a wok or stainless steel pan. Don't skip this step, it helps bloom and deepen the flavor of the seeds.
3. Prepare other ingredients: chop lettuce and cilantro. Note, if you are serving these as lettuce wraps, then instead of chopping the lettuce, chop the head in half and seperate the leaves to use as "cups." Create a dredging station for the lamb by adding the cornstarch to a bowl. Also, prepare rice according to instructions. Make sure to wash the rice before hand. When it's done cooking, I add rice vinegar to my sticky rice to give it a little flavor.
4. When lamb is done marinating, heat a large wok or stainless steel pan on high heat. Add vegetable oil and let it get nice and hot. Since this dish benefits from crispy browned lamb, a nonstick pan will not work that well. A cast iron skillet will do the trick if you don't have a wok or stainless steel pan.
5. Dredge lamb in cornstarch and then add to wok in batches. Do not overcrowd the pan. let the lamb get nice and crispy and then remove. Once all the lamb is cooked, add the remaining sauce (not the marinade, the sauce you put a side) and heat. After it's heated, add the lamb and mix around so that the sauce coats the lamb.
6. Remove from pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds and cilantro over lamb. Serve over rice or in lettuce wraps. If serving over rice, use chopped lettuce as a garnish.