I Feel Like a Grown-up When I Make Lamb

Up until about two years ago, I thought lamb to be out of the scope of reasonable supper-time fare. It always seemed too gamy, too expensive, too Easter. My husband Troy loves lamb (any meat, really), so I've broadened my menu. Lamb is that unique je ne sais quois in such ethnic delights as Gyros, peppered Mongolian stir fry, or Irish mutton stew. The Chinese say that lamb is a "hot" food, meaning that your internal systems are therapeutically warmed or inflamed if you are gluttonous. Maybe that is why lamb pairs so well with mint. If you are like me, you love the contrast of flavors: sweet and savory, strong and subtle, warm and cool. Tonight I made boneless leg of lamb. The already marinated leg of lamb was purchased at Trader Joe's (love that place!) for only $3.99/lb. While I waited for the lamb to grill (per instructions on the packaging), I made this tangy vinaigrette for our meal. This is also a great marinade if you were making lamb chops, which I highly recommend as a romantic meal for two (plus 3 in our case!)

Fresh Mint Vinaigrette

1 1/2 cups packed mint leaves 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves 1 clove garlic 1/3 cup olive oil 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 2-4 teaspoons sugar

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor;blend until smooth and thickened. Serve with lamb.

The grilled leg of lamb was served with the vinaigrette, a spinach-feta-cranberries-candied pecan salad, lemon-peppered asparagus braised in the oven, and crusty, multi-grain bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. If this is too much dancing for your taste buds, eliminate the lemon pepper from the asparagus, or simply drizzle olive oil over your bread. My only regret: too busy feeding the family to remember to document this elegant-for-a-Tuesday-night meal with a photograph...next time. Try it for dinner...on Wednesday!