I know it’s not quite summertime yet, but the weather has been gorgeous (finally, goddammit), and grilling season is in full swing around here.
*Having had cancer, I’m allowed to make jokes about it.
So it seemed like a good time to bust out my seldom-used copy of Mario Batali’s Italian Grill for some lamb scottadita (literally, “burn your fingers,” because you’ll snatch these up while they’re still scorching) with cumin-scented goat’s yogurt.
Grilling your dinner has a plethora of benefits:
- Delicious, delicious carcinogens.
- It’s an excellent excuse to drink beer while you cook.
- The fire’s smell transports you to the middle of summer: instant relaxation.
And, if you’re me:
- Your significant other is the grill master, so all you have to do is some prep work and then you get to sit back and chill while someone else makes your dinner.
Really, it’s a win-win-win-win.
I took the resulting obscenely fragrant paste and got up close and personal with my meat. The herb-smothered lamb looked so colorful and springy and appealing that I kinda wanted to gnaw on it raw. Don’t worry, I held myself back.
While I kept one eye on the dogs, who also wanted to gnaw on the raw lamb, I mixed up the yogurt which is, as its name would suggest, just goat’s yogurt and cumin. Somehow, calling it “cumin-scented” makes it sound a little fancier than “yogurt with some cumin stirred in,” but it is what it is.
When Brian got home, he fired up our teeny-tiny grill. It’s not always efficient to light up the whole hobo drum every time you want to grill something, especially when what you’re grilling is fast-cooking, so we have an itty-bitty grill for daily use. It’s not as manly as the hobo drum, but Brian doesn’t seem to mind.
He also listens to Adele and watches Project Runway (not at the same time) because he is secure in himself and possibly also has a man-crush on Tim Gunn.
The chops cooked for a scant two minutes on each side, which seems like barely enough time to scorch the tips of mint, but that fire is HOT. In any case, I’d rather have a chop on the rarer side than one that’s been cooked to death; my father once left lamb chops on a grill for such a long time that they actually charred and cooked away entirely, and I’m all about avoiding a recurrence.
During the four minutes of cook time, I threw together a salad simply dressed with white balsamic (Best. Vinegar. Ever.) and olive oil.
Dang, y’all, I fucking love grill season. Even when you’re cooking over high heat inside and get a nice sear, there’s nothing quite like grill flavor. In this case, the natural sweetness of the mint and the sugar in the herb paste provide an excellent foil to the gaminess of the lamb and the grill char. Those four minutes left the lamb perfectly cooked. The yogurt was creamy and earthy (if not particularly goat-y and barnyard-y) and was a cool complement to the meat.
This lamb (with a cheaper cut of meat) will definitely be making a reappearance on my summer table, even if I didn’t actually burn my fingers. Well played, Batali.