Last night, I attended an impromptu conceptual event called Alfresco Vancouver where 60 strangers congregated in a public space and dined pot-luck style. The lively, communal event contrasted against the brick-paved urban lot in the heart of trendy Yaletown.
White-attired attendees sat on the floor along a lit, accordion-style paper table. Tea-lights glowing in white paper bags completed the cultish appeal. We brought our own utensils, sipped discrete beverages out of plastic mugs, and shared food, stories, and laughs.
Moving. Memorable. Middle-finger to the squares.
This is what I brought: Olive Stuffed Leg of Lamb, Fig and Cherry Compote.
It was a hit. If you tried some, I hope you enjoyed it!
- 4.5 lb Fraser Valley leg of lamb, butterflied
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
- 200 g olives, pitted and chopped
- Zest of 2 lemons + juice of 1
- 1 head of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- several sprigs of thyme, stripped
- 1 cup cherries, pitted
- 2 cups figs, quartered
- 1 cup Balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbs honey
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- several sprigs of thyme, tied with twine
Preheat oven to 400˚F (204˚C)
Combine stuffing ingredients.
Trim the lamb of excess fat and sinuous bits. Wash and pat dry. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, then massage the meat with some olive oil.
Spread the stuffing in one even layer. Layer on basil leaves. Roll and truss the lamb to create a roast. Adjust the diameter of the roast to ensure even cooking time. Place the lamb on a roasting pan, rub over once more with olive oil, and place into the hot oven.
While the lamb is roasting, add the thyme, cinnamon stick and Balsamic vinegar into a medium sauce pan. Reduce the vinegar by 1/3 on medium heat. Add the cherries, figs, and honey. Simmer for 3 minutes, remove from heat, and set aside.
A nice brown crust should form on the lamb after 15 minutes of cooking. When the desired colour is achieved, drape a piece of aluminum foil over the meat and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 135˚F (57˚C).
Remove from the oven and allow the meat to rest under a foil tent for 15 minutes.
Remove the thyme and cinnamon stick from the compote. Carve the lamb and serve with warm compote on the side.
Until next time, my lovelies.