Quick Bites from Pender

Seared Lamb Lettuce Rolls with Romesco & Mint Picada

In Recipes on April 5, 2010 at 5:01 am

lamb lettuce rolls with romesco and mint picada

These Seared Lamb Lettuce Rolls got their start when I dug out the old photo album that I used to keep my favourite recipes in (BEFORE the internet, for you kids out there).

I found what I was looking for:  a recipe from The Vancouver Sun, 1998.  Garbanzo and Potato Stew with Romesco Sauce and Picada.  I only made it once, but I still remember the blandness of the stew.  So why did I keep it?

The Romesco and Picada stole the recipe right out from under the stew’s bowl.  Both pack a huge flavour punch — and both deserve a much better canvas than garbanzos  (why did the author choose garbanzo, when there exists a much more attractive alternative in chickpea?  We’ll never know.)

I rubbed a sirloin of lamb with a bit of vegetable oil, seasoned it with s+p, then seared in in a hot dry pan.  After it was cool, I sliced it thinly across the grain, set the pieces on ruffles of lettuce, and garnished them with the romesco and then the picada.

The result was a very tasty bite that was a bit too finicky to get off the plate with one hand.  I’ll have to work on that — I’m thinking rice paper, or filo…puff would be too rich.

Until then, enjoy the romesco and picada — both are vegan…I’m not vegan, but my tummy is always happy with the occasional dairy-free option.  (Is that too personal a share?)

toasted-pecans-almonds

Romesco is a rich, luscious red-pepper/tomato based sauce claimed by many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures, all calling it by a slightly different name.  The Vancouver Sun article I got this recipe one attributes it to Spain – so I’ll go with that.

Serve it as a dip with bread, or as a condiment with grilled meat or fish, use it on sandwiches, stir it into a vegetable stew, serve it on a poached egg for breakfast…

romesco-sauce

Romesco Sauce

Yield:  approx 1½ cups

Red Bell Pepper, small 1
Blanched Almonds 2 T 30 ml
Hazelnuts 2 T 30 ml
Olive Oil 1 T 15 ml
White Country-Style Bread ½ slice
Garlic 2 cloves
Crushed Hot Red Pepper ½ t 3 ml
Roma Tomatoes, large 2
Parsley, chopped 2 t 10 ml
Paprika ½ t 3 ml
Sherry Vinegar 2 T 30 ml
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1/3 C 80 ml
S+P TT

T= tablespoon           t=teaspoon        ml=millilitres           TT=to taste

Broil the red pepper on a baking sheet, turning several times, until the skin is charred (about 20 min).  Remove from the oven and enclose the pepper in a paper bag until cool enough to handle.  Peel and remove seeds; set aside.

Toast almonds and hazelnuts on a baking sheet @ 350° F until light golden and fragrant (about 5 min).  Rub the warm hazelnuts in a clean dish towel to remove skins.

In a small frypan, heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil over med heat.  Fry bread until golden, turning once (about 3 min).  Allow bread to cool.

Combine the nuts, garlic and dried red pepper in a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Add tomatoes, parsley, paprika, roasted bell pepper and s+p; process until smooth.  With machine running, gradually pour in vinegar and then the 1/3 cup olive oil.  Season with s+p to taste.

Serve at room temperature.  Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Tips:

  • I didn’t have hazelnuts, so I used pecans (and I didn’t bother trying to remove their skins).
  • I had some day-old ciabatta, which worked nicely as the bread.
  • I also didn’t have sherry vinegar, so I used 25 ml white wine vinegar and 5 ml red wine vinegar – the colour was about right!

mint-picada

Picada – Also Spanish in origin according to my 1998 newspaper article source.  Insanely kicked up breadcrumbs traditionally used as a thickener and seasoning —  I ate it by the spoonful until it was gone, then contemplated immediately making more.  Thankfully, I was out of bread.

Picada

Yield:  approx 1 cups

Blanched Almonds 2 T 30 ml
Olive Oil 2 T 30 ml
White Country-Style Bread 1 slice
Garlic 3 med. cloves
Salt Pinch

T= tablespoon           ml=millilitres           C=cup

Toast the almonds on a baking sheet @ 350 F until light golden and fragrant (about 5 min).

Meanwhile, in a small frypan, heat the olive oil over med heat.  Fry bread until golden, turning once (about 3 min).  Allow bread to cool.

Combine the almonds, bread, garlic and salt in a food processor.  Process to crumbs.

Tips:

  • To make the Mint Picada I served with the lamb, I omitted the garlic, and added ¼ c fresh mint leaves.  You could do the same with dill (for fish), basil (for tomatoes), parsley (to add colour), INSERT YOUR IDEA HERE.

seared lamb with romesco and mint picada

Kicked up breadcrumbs that make an excellent dairy-free/vegan seasoning and condiment.

Picada

Yield:  approx 1 cups

Blanched Almonds

2 T

30 ml

Olive Oil

2 T

30 ml

White Country-Style Bread

1 slice

Garlic

3 med. cloves

Salt

Pinch

T= tablespoon           ml=millilitres           C=cup

Toast the almonds on a baking sheet @ 350 F until light golden and fragrant (about 5 min).

Meanwhile, in a small frypan, heat the olive oil over med heat.  Fry bread until golden, turning once (about 3 min).  Allow bread to cool.

Combine the almonds, bread, garlic and salt in a food processor.  Process to crumbs.

Tips:

· To make the Mint Picada I served with the lamb, I omitted the garlic, and added ¼ c fresh mint leaves.  You could do the same with dill (for fish), basil (for tomatoes), YOUR IDEA HERE.

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  1. this looks like the ultimate party food. Great!

  2. The romesco sauce looks as though it could be the star of almost any dish!

  3. Gorgeous presentation! And I just visited Vancouver for the first time in January – what an incredible place!

  4. Found you through Tasty Kitchen. All of this looks wonderful. Will definitely have to try this.

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