Lavender and salt-crusted lamb loin

February 9, 2009 4:27:53 PM PST
A unique and tasty approach to cooking with lamb.

Matanzas Creek Estate Lavender and Salt Crusted Lamb Loin

1 cup flour
1 cup water
1 cup kosher salt
2 Tbsp lavender flowers
1 lamb loin (12 oz to 1lb)
1 Tsp chopped rosemary
1 Tsp chopped thyme
½ clove of garlic (crushed into a paste)
1 Tbsp oil plus additional oil to sauté in pan
Salt and pepper

Mix flour, water, salt, and lavender in a mixing bowl until the ingredients come together to form a firm, moist dough. If dry, add a tablespoon of water. If too moist, add a tablespoon of flour. Wrap in plastic (or use a Zip Lock bag) and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Bring dough to room temperature before beginning next step. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to about ¼ of an inch. Transfer to baking sheet. Cover with a towel until ready to use. Meanwhile, mix the rosemary, thyme, garlic and oil together to form a paste. Rub onto lamb. Heat a medium sized sauté pan over medium heat. Add enough cooking oil to the pan to coat the bottom. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Sauté the lamb loin until golden brown or two minutes on each side. Lift the lamb loin out of the pan and set onto plate. Put the plate into your refrigerator in a predetermined spot that will allow for the most circulation around the lamb. This will ensure rapid cooling.

When the lamb is cool, lift it off the plate and blot dry with paper towels. Place the lamb just off center of the lavender dough sheet. Gently fold in half, covering the lamb with the dough. Using the heels of your hands, pull the dough snugly around the contour of the lamb loin. Press it tightly at the base to form a seam. You should have a rectangular shape. Cut away a one inch border from the lamb with a pizza cutter or by lightly pressing your kitchen knife against the pan. Using the tines of a fork, crimp the perimeter by pressing the fork into the dough.

The lamb loin can then be prepared immediately or stored in a refrigerator for up to 4 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425º and bake lamb on the top rack of your oven for about 12 minutes or until an internal temperature of 125º is reached. Remove from oven. Place entire piece onto a cutting board. Cut the edge of the dough and lift cap off of the lamb and discard. Lift lamb onto cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Carve and serve immediately.

Grilled Calamari with Chorizo, Kalamata Olives, and Cannellini Beans
Paired with Matanzas Creek 2007 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc

A Valentine's Day Recipe for Two

1 cup of calamari tubes (rinsed)
1 tsp chopped parsley PLUS 1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped rosemary
3 tbsp olive oil PLUS 2 tbsp very good extra virgin olive oil for finishing
1 small head of garlic (crushed into a paste)
¼ cup diced chorizo (small dice)
1 shallot (diced)
1 celery stalk (halved and cut on bias)
¼ cup Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc
8 kalamata olives (cut in half)
½ cup cannellini beans (cooked either fresh or canned)
1 tbsp butter
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup baby arugula leaves

Mix the calamari, parsley, rosemary and 3 tbsp olive oil together and allow to marinade for 20 minutes. Pre-heat your grill.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add your 2 tbsp oil and chorizo. Cook the chorizo on medium heat until it starts to caramelize and infuse with oil in the pan - about 4 minutes. Add the shallot and celery and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the wine, and reduce by half. Add olives, cannellini beans and parsley. Remove from heat. Allow to sit in pan for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, season calamari with salt and pepper and grill. Calamari is done when the color turns white and loses its translucent appearance. Remove from grill (or stove top grill pan) and place on cutting board. Cut into ½ inch rings. Finish the bean and chorizo mixture by adding butter and seasoning with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Divide between two deep bowls. Arrange the calamari rings over the bean mixture. Garnish with baby arugula leaves and very good extra virgin olive oil.

Matanzas Creek Estate
6097 Bennett Valley Road
Santa Rosa, California 95404
800.590.6464 or 707.528.6464

About Chef Constantinos "Taki" Laliotitis:
He had some excellent training before he became the chef for Matanzas Creek Winery. As a kid he was the official taste tester of his mom's traditional Greek dishes. Taki's parents were in the restaurant business, and he vividly remembers the food, wine and festive atmosphere of the family's weekly dinner parties.While Chef Taki's culinary journey started in the family kitchen, his appreciation for wine began as a student at the prestigious Ecole Supérieure de Cuisine Francaise in Paris. During his studies he traveled the globe to learn about the connection between a wine's growing region and the cuisine served there.Chef Taki has created extraordinary meals at world-class restaurants in France, Italy, Japan and throughout California - including the legendary French Laundry in Napa. This global résumé gives him a broad knowledge of international cuisine, and allows him to "bring the proper experiences to the situation at hand."