During the cold winter months, we make homemade pizza almost every Sunday evening. This time of year, however, the heat of summer generally keeps us from cranking up the oven to the necessary 550 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, there’s an exception to every rule, and the surplus of ripe, miniature tomatoes at the farmers market these days triggers the exception to our No-Homemade-Pizza-in-Summer rule. Fresh mozzarella, sharp garlic, sweet onion, and minty basil are almost mystical compliments to the sweet and savory little tomatoes. But, please, hold the sauce. With tomatoes like these, sauce would only interfere with the magic.
For the past couple of years, we have shared half a lamb with a friend through a local CSA. We never know exactly what cuts we’re going to get and, frankly, we don’t really care. It’s all delicious. And part of the fun for me is thinking up new ways to prepare it.
One of the cuts in this year’s share was a small roast on the bone — not more than 3 pounds in all. I made a gremolata and spread it across the top of the meat, put the roast in the pan in which I intended to cook it, then let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours so that the meat would absorb the lemon, garlic, and parsley goodness in which it was dressed. I preheated the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and, after letting the roast come to room temperature for about a half hour, I threw the whole pan right into the hot oven with a bit of mire poix and red wine. After about 15 minutes, I turned the oven down to 350 degrees, and continued cooking the roast until it registered just under 140 degrees on my instant-read thermometer— the high end of medium rare, especially after accounting for carry-over cooking.
You can see the results for yourself here . . . but you won’t be able to taste them unless you try it yourself at home.