Farm Fresh Pick of the Week: Basil

Friday, May 4, 2012 8:00

A Perfect Spring Cocktail & Leg of Lamb Recipe

by Casey Pukl

This delicate member of the mint family (Lamiaceae for all of you scientific folks) has long been used in various cultures for cooking. From sweet to Thai and lemon to holy, the varieties of this herb seem endless. This week, Sous Chef Kristen Burman and manager Marc Canzoneri have two delicious ways to utilize this spring favorite!

Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb
Israeli Couscous, Spring Vegetables, Basil Pistou

Nothing says “Spring” quite like a perfectly cooked, thin sliced, roasted leg of lamb. Tender and juicy, there’s nothing better.  Fortunately for us, Kristen Burman not only knows how to cook the perfect leg of lamb, but she also really knows how to dress is up. This week’s Farm Fresh recipe is a very special rendition of the classic roasted leg of lamb that Burman serves up with some couscous, fresh spring vegetables, and of course our farm fresh ingredient— basil.

Kristen starts this dish by making the Basil Pistou that will be served on top. “Pistou is essentially the French version of the classic Italian pesto, it just doesn’t have pine nuts,” explains Burman.”

Basic Pistou Recipe:

1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup basil leaves (fresh), packed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor. While blending, slowly add the oil until all of ingredients are finely chopped and combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Burman starts by marinating the lamb with garlic, rosemary, thyme, black pepper, and olive oil. “This marinade is a great option for any cut of lamb,” she says. She then roasts the lamb until it is cooked to a perfect medium.

When the lamb is done roasting, be sure you allow the meat to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing so that you don’t lose all of the juices. Kristen recommends serving your sliced leg of lamb with couscous and fresh seasonal vegetables. Be sure to come on down and try her rendition before making one of your own— it’s heavenly.

Two to Tango
Creator: Marc Canzoneri

Jalapeno Infused Tequila
Fresh Basil Leaves or Basil Simple Syrup
Fresh Lime Juice
Splash of Pineapple Juice

Instructions: If using fresh basil, start by spanking the basil, then muddle. If using basil infused simple syrup, skip the first step. Add ice, lime juice, and tequila, then shake. Pour into glass, top with a splash of pineapple juice. Garnish with basil leaves and a lime wedge.

Spicy, sweet, herbal— there’s nothing this drink doesn’t have! The spicy jalapeno delicately tangos with the freshness of the basil in a dance that is worthy of a ten! This creative take on the classic margarita presents us with an exquisite experience.

“I wanted to make something that was fresh, but also had a kick. Spicy drinks are always a fun way to play with those flavors in a non-traditional way,” says manager Marc Canzoneri.

Be sure to come on down as always and give our specials a try! This weekend we’ve got Valerie Simpson performing a very touching tribute to her late husband, Nick Ashford, and Trace Bundy the “Acoustic Ninja”!