Mediterranean Feast!

I didn’t grow up eating lamb. In eastern North Carolina we regularly dined on fried chicken, barbeque and chicken and dumplings. In fact, Vince and I had been married for several years before I tasted my first lamb at a restaurant in Charleston, SC. It was love at first bite!

Rack of lamb, leg of lamb, lamb chops – they’re all wonderful! I especially like this simple recipe for rack of lamb that has been frenched and sliced into lollipop chops. Besides being a delicious entree, the lollipops can also be served as a fun-to-eat hors d’oeuvre.

My recipe for tzatziki-like sauce is made with sour cream and dill but could easily be substituted with Greek-style yogurt and fresh mint. 

Mediterranean Salad and Oven-Roasted Cauliflower are excellent accompaniments for a quick and delicious dinner. All you need to complete the meal is a glass (or bottle) of pinot noir or merlot. Enjoy!

 

Crunchy Lamb Lolliops
For the tzatziki sauce:
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
For the lamb:
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 (1¼ pound) rack of lamb, frenched and cut into lollipop chops
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup panko bread crumbs
In a small bowl, combine mustard with garlic and thyme. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper on both sides. Spread mustard mixture on both sides of seasoned lamb and refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Just before cooking, pat panko on top of mustard mixture on both sides of lamb lollipops. Place lamb on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, turn and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until just crispy for medium-rare. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with tzatziki sauce on the side. Serves 3 to 4.
www.cateringbydebbicovington.com

 

Mediterranean Salad
For the vinaigrette:
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup red wine vinegar
For the salad:
1 head romaine lettuce, torn
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, halved and sliced
8 to 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
12 artichoke hearts, halved
½ cup sliced kalamata olives
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Fresh dill
In a small bowl, whisk vinaigrette ingredients together until well mixed; set aside. Place lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and olives in a large salad bowl. Dress with vinaigrette; toss to coat. Top with feta cheese and season to taste with fresh dill. Serves 6 to 8.
www.cateringbydebbicovington.com

 

Oven-Roasted Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower
4 tablespoons olive oil
¼ – ½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut cauliflower into florets, about the size of ping pong balls. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil and salt; whisk, then add the cauliflower pieces and toss thoroughly. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread cauliflower pieces evenly on baking sheet and roast for 1 hour, turning the pieces every 20 minutes, until most of each piece has turned golden brown. Serve immediately. Serves 3 to 4.
www.cateringbydebbicovington.com

Debbi Covington is a chef, caterer, cookbook author and food columnist from Beaufort, SC. She has written two cookbooks, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. Debbi writes the food column “Everyday Gourmet” in Beaufort’s Lowcountry Weekly newspaper and is a partner/food columnist with DIY Wedding Magazine. Debbi has been featured as a “Master of Entertaining” in Southern Living magazine and her recipes have been published in multiple cookbooks including Southern Living’s Best Kept Secrets of the South’s Best Cooks and The Best of The Best of South Carolina. Her food has been photographed for Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. She has been voted “Best Caterer” in Beaufort, SC since 2010. Debbi has a passion for cuisine and delights in creating seasonal and locally inspired menus.