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Lamb Brochettes with Mint Gremolata

Prepare a few extra vegetable brochettes if you know some of your guests don’t eat meat. Always place the vegetable brochettes around the perimeter of the grill where the temperature is lower so they will be done at the same time as the meat brochettes.  

Ingredients:

For the mint gremolata: 

  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint 
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 Tbs. grated lemon zest 
  •   
  • 2-lb. piece trimmed boneless leg of lamb  
  • 1 cup olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine 
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste 
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar 
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary  
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt 
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper 
  • 2 each green and yellow zucchini, cut into rounds 1 inch thick 
  • 2 slender eggplant, cut into rounds 1 inch thick 
  • 2 large red onions, cut into 2-inch pieces 
  • 16 sturdy woody rosemary branches or wooden skewers 

Directions:

To make the gremolata, in a small bowl, stir together the mint, parsley, garlic and lemon zest until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (The gremolata can be prepared up to 4 hours in advance.)

Cut the lamb into 1 1/4-inch cubes. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, wine, tomato paste, vinegar, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper until well blended. Put the lamb cubes in a large heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Put the zucchini, eggplant and onion pieces in another bag. Divide the marinade evenly between the 2 bags. Press out any excess air, seal the bags, turn to coat the ingredients evenly with the marinade and refrigerate. The lamb can marinate overnight, but the vegetables should not marinate for more than 4 hours.

Strip the leaves off each rosemary branch, leaving a few leaves on the tip. Using a sharp knife, shape the other end to a sharp point. Soak the branches or skewers in water to cover in a shallow baking dish for 30 minutes and then drain.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill. Oil the grill rack and position it about 6 inches from the heat source.

Remove the lamb pieces from the marinade and discard the marinade. Thread the lamb onto 8 of the rosemary branches; do not to crowd the pieces so they will cook evenly. Remove the vegetables from the marinade and reserve the vegetable marinade for basting. Thread the vegetables in an alternating pattern onto the remaining 8 rosemary branches. Place the lamb skewers in the center of the grill over the hottest part of the fire and the vegetable skewers around them. Grill, turning and basting every few minutes, until the lamb is cooked through and the vegetables are tender and lightly charred, 10 to 12 minutes.

Arrange the skewers on a warmed platter, sprinkle with the mint gremolata and serve immediately. Makes 16 skewers; serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Entertaining with the Seasons (Free Press, 2010).