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Mint Salsa Goes Great with Lamb

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Pair a mint salsa with lamb.

The last of our green recipes for St. Patrick’s Day involves mint, which has started coming back after the brief winter we had.

Some people love lamb with mint jelly. I’m not one of them. In fact, the sticky sweetness of the jelly is so great, to me, that it throws off the balance of the entire meal. (It also destroys any good chance of pairing the meal with wine, as the wine has to be sweeter than the food you are serving it with.) But that doesn’t mean I don’t like lamb and mint together. The two flavors do complement each other, you just don’t need to add sweetness into a perfectly savory pairing.

That’s where the following salsa recipe comes in handy. It’s adapted from a idea celebrity chef Mary Sue Milliken shared with the Washington Post. Her version originally had a teaspoon of honey in it, but I wouldn’t it, especially when there’s already sweet balsamic vinegar.  The garlic and mint in this salsa don’t need much more enhancement, and they make this salsa a worth partner for white fish and chicken.

Mint Salsa

2 heads garlic (24 to 30 cloves)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 cup loosely packed mint leaves
Splash balsamic or sherry vinegar, or more to taste
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, until well browned. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and wine; increase the heat to medium-high and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to about 1/2 cup.

As the liquid reduces, coarsely chop or chiffonade the mint leaves and add to the saucepan along with the vinegar. Taste and adjust: If the wine is quite dry, you will need less vinegar; if the wine has some sweetness, you might need more vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

From Mary Sue Milliken/The Washington Post

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