I bought these beautiful lamb loins from Central Market the other day because they had a sale going on last week. I think lamb is one of my favorite proteins -- it has such an earthy flavor and when cooked properly, it melts in your mouth. I figured since lamb is generally pretty heavy I'd lighten it up with a side salad.
The salad. I can't being to explain. To be honest, I had all this squash I had bought but hadn't used because I enjoyed them as decoration for my squash centerpiece on my dining table (enter girly joke here). I always come to find that my best recipes are usually ones that I make up on the spot using whatever is left over in my fridge. Now, back to THE SALAD -- it's amazing, it is out of this world delicious, it is so good in fact that I am planning to make it for my annual Thanksgiving party and probably will do so for many years to come.
Okay I guess I'll stop talking about how great this salad is and move on to what I actually put in it to make it so magical :) Let's first start with the lamb...
Ingredients for Pan Seared Lamb:
- 4 lamb loins (or however many you want to buy)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
Ingredients for Chimmichurri:
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted, finely chopped
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes, chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F.
For the Chimmichurri, place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and incorporate together. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan with the oil. Sprinkle each side of the lamb loin evenly with salt and pepper. (This cooking process is exactly like the way you make steak). Once the oil is hot (it will smoke a little bit), sear the lamb loin, about 2 minutes per side and allow the lamb to cook the rest of the way in the oven. The cooking times are as follows:
- If you like your lamb rare, place it in the oven for no more than 2-3 minutes. If you like your lamb medium rare place it in the oven for about 6-8 minutes. If you like your lamb medium place it in the oven for 9 to 11 minutes. If you like it well done leave it in there for 12-14 minutes. Remember, the lamb will continue to cook after you take it out so plan accordingly.
Ingredients for Magical Roasted Trio Squash Salad:
- 1/2 butternut squash,seeded and chopped into 1" cubes
- 1 acorn squash, seeded and chopped into 1" cubes
- 1 spaghetti squash, seeded and halved
- 3 beets, peeled and chopped into 1" cubes
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon herbs de provence (you can also use rosemary)
- 6 radishes - thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
- 4 cups field greens or arugula, or spinach or mix of all three if you choose
- pinch of fleur de sel (or kosher salt)
- pinch of ground black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400F.
Line a large sheet pan with foil and place the spaghetti squash halves face down. Add about an inch of water in the pan and place in the oven and roast for 40 minutes or until soft. In a large roasting pan, mix the squash and beets with orange zest, herbs and olive oil -- be sure all the pieces are coated evenly. Cover pan with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Check to see how well the squash is cooked, if it is rock solid cook for another 10-15 minutes covered, if it is semi-soft, remove the foil and increase your oven temperature to "broil". Roast for an additional 10-15 minutes until squash and beets are completely cooked through and soft (keep an eye on your vegetables and be sure they do not burn). Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, take your spaghetti squash and using a fork, loosen up the strings of squash and place in a bowl. Plate your field greens and when ready to serve take a spoonful of the roasted squash mixture and spaghetti squash and place it on top. Garnish with the sliced radish, goat cheese and pine nuts. Finish by sprinkling the salad with a little bit of Fleur de Sel and ground black pepper.
Now a lot of you are probably thinking, fleur de what? Fleur de Sel -- it means "Flower of Salt' in French and is slightly different than kosher salt. It has a sweeter and less saltier flavor with a crunchy texture. It's quite pricey but I bought a tiny bit of it from the bulk salt section at Central market because I had heard about it and was interested in trying it.
But I dont think it was the salt that made this salad magical. It was the mixture of squashes along with the sweetness of the beets and then the spicy crunchy radishes paired with the creamy goat cheese...and last but not least the delicious little pine nuts that were sprinkled throughout. *siiigh* I dont know any other way to describe this salad any better so I urge you to try it hahaha. I wish I had more pictures of the salad to really show case its true "awesomeness" but I think I was so darn hungry while making this dinner I rushed the pictures because I wanted to eat so bad...my stomach controls me what can I say? : )
Serves 4. Prep Time - 35 minutes Total Cooking Time - 1 hour 35 minutes