Friday, 11 April 2014

' 53 deg . C . LAMB SOUVLAKI in GRAPE LEAF .'

53 degree C. Sous vide cooked Tassie Royal Lamb Souvlaki in Grapevine Leaf served with Minted Greek yoghurt , Preserved lemon , Salted capers , Black garlic paste , Fried parsley and fresh oregano.

                  During the week I visited my favourite independent grocers 'food fantasy' after work. I love going to this humble little food hub and its been a few weeks now that I had paid a visit to the store. A different delicacies were on offer, I picked up a pack of brined grapevine leaves ( good,big,green ) about a dozen in total for $2.20 AUS. While I was in the store foraging I came across fresh Kalamata olives and when I asked one of the staff what was involved in the prep of the olives, he went out the back and got the little old Italian lady. Familiar with my face she talked me through the four week process of brining the olives while hand selecting me a half kilo into a bag that I'd requested. The olives were $6 a kg. costing me $3 AUS. for my Kalamata olives. So I guess the trip to the 'food fantasy' and the butchers for the quality piece of free ranging grass-fed lamb from greener pastures of Tasmania have been the inspirations of this Mediterranean flavoured cuisine.                                                          
                 This was a very simple dish to make I began by marinating the lamb overnight in the fridge in a vacuum sealed pouch containing butter, dried oregano, smoked paprika, dried thyme, salt, white pepper, a pinch of cumin and a little garlic paste. The next day I set the sous vide machine to a water bath temperature of 53 degrees C. and cooked the pouch of souvlaki marinated lamb for one hour. during this time I prepped the accompaniments firstly the minted yoghurt was a mixture of greek yoghurt, fresh mint from the garden finely chopped, a little garlic paste, drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lime juice before being lightly seasoned with salt. To make the black garlic paste I simply blended black garlic with a little olive oil to form a puree. The preserved lemons was an earlier prep, I mean way earlier, like this time last year or earlier. These are simply preserved over time in jars packed with salt and filled with lemon syrup. Over the time the skins soften and the pulp turns to the preserving liquor it is the skins that are scraped back and rinsed before being added whole or diced into dishes to give an up lifting citrus element to the dish. The capers were store bought but have been drained and mixed with himalayan pint salt in a container in the fridge for a number of months now. Once the lamb was ready I removed the lamb from the pouch and straight into a hot pan with the juices of the pouch poured over the lamb while it quickly seared on both sides of the fillet. Once the outside of the meats proteins had caramelised I removed the fillet from the pan placing it straight at the bottom of a spread brined grapevine leaf on a cutting board. The lamb was then rolled in the leaf and returned to a hot pan with a little olive oil to cook the outsides of the leaf, while this was cooking a placed some sprigs of parsley in the hot oil to crisp up. Both the parsley sprigs and the rolled lamb were removed once cooked and left to rest for 3-4 minutes. The parsley was then seasoned with smoked cypress sea salt.                  
                I presented this plate by making a series of random swipes with the minted greek yoghurt. I then sliced the grapevine leaf wrapped souvlaki lamb in to various widths and strategically arranged them around the plate displaying the beautiful perfectly evenly cooked lamb contrasted by the dark green vine leaf. I then added the accompaniments of salted capers, preserved lemons, black garlic paste, the crunchy fried parsley and to finish the dish fresh micro oregano leaves from the garden.

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