Saturday, July 22, 2006

Gigot Steaks on Eggplant with Tsatziki

Gigot, or also knows as leg of lamb, has a very unique lamb flavor which differs from the lamb racks I usually prepare. You might have to ask your butcher for leg of lamb steaks or if he has a whole leg, he might be able to cut a few steaks for you. Preferrably you would like those steaks to be at least 1" thick, better 1,5".

The combination of lamb, eggplant and the cucumber dip is very refreshing and perfect for those hot summer days.



for 2 people:

Ingredients:
2 leg of lamb (gigot) steaks, 1-1,5" thick
1 eggplant, sliced lengthwise
salt
flour
olive oil for sauté

for the marinade:
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 twigs fresh thyme, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh or dried oregano
10 mint leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
freshly ground salt and pepper

for the tsatziki:
17 oz (1/2 l) plain yoghurt
1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and finely chopped (best to use a food processor)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
salt to taste


Instructions:

You need about 6 hours to de-water the yoghurt for the tsatziki. Use a strainer with a thin piece of cloth inside (a kitchen paper might work as well). Put the strainer in a bowl and pour the yoghurt into the cloth.

After several hours, a lot of the water from the yoghurt will have seaped through the cloth, giving you a much less liquid and wet yoghurt, perfect for tsatziki.

Before starting to cook the meat and eggplants, finish the tsatziki. Add the cucumber to the dried out yoghurt. Add garlic, olive oil, dill and salt to taste. Mix well and add more ingredients to taste. Keep cool in the fridge.

Sprinkle enough salt on all the eggplant slices on both sides and let them sit on a plate for about 30 mins. The water will start to come out of the eggplant and form little drops on the slices.

Once that happened, wash the slices and flour them all around.

Rub all the ingredients for the marinade around the steaks. Use more olive oil if the marinade is too dry. Put aside.

Preheat the oven to 175 F. (80 C.).

In a skillet using plenty of olive oil, sauté the steaks over high heat about 1-3 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness, until they've gotten a nice brown color but leaving the inside red. Put the steaks into a dish and place into the preheated oven.

Depending on the thickness of the steaks, leave them in the oven for at least 30 minutes, but no longer than 1 hour. You still want the meat to be slightly pink inside.

In a skillet, sauté the eggplant slices in olive oil until browned on all sides. Don't overlap the slices in the skillet, only put as many at a time as possible. Add more olive oil as needed.

Arrange the eggplant slices on the serving plates and put a lamb steak on top. Serve with the cool tsatziki on the side.

We've enjoyed a bottle of nice tuscany wine with this dish but you could also go for a lighter red to keep this dish more suitable for a hot summer night. I do tend to think though that a full-bodied italian wine enhances the flavor of lamb quite nicely.

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