Lamb Recipes, Recipes

Barbecued lamb ossobuco recipe w/ caponata

Here is a lamb ossobuco recipe that is beautiful in its simplicity and begging to be eaten al fresco with a glass of cold Sicilian white wine. Lamb ossobuco, a slightly unusual cut from the leg, is simply grilled over the smouldering embers of a charcoal barbecue and served next to my take on caponata; a dish synonymous with the magical, beautiful, and wild island of Sicily. Unlike veal ossobuco, these steaks are cut from the upper part of the leg, making them suitable for grilling like a steak. Cook them over coals and let them rest to a beautiful pink. Keep it simple with just salt and a drizzle of oil to let the quality of the meat shine. A word for caponata, which has to be one of the finest preparations of vegetables going. I spent a week in Sicily and found a variation of the dish on every menu I read, with each kitchen offering up a slightly different example. The key components remained though, and they are vegetables fried in olive oil, dressed in an agrodolce style and served at room temperature. Some of the ingredients vary as does its consistency and appearance and that is fine. What caponata is not, and this mistake is often made in this country, is an aubergine stew, heavy with cooked tomatoes – something more akin to a ratatouille. Don’t make that mistake. In terms of what to serve with lamb ossobuco, you need look no further than this recipe.

Serves 2


For the caponata:


Start with the caponata:

  1. Remove the tops from the aubergines and courgette, then dice them into 2cm cubes. Place in a large bowl, season with sea salt, and set aside for 15-minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the red onions, and garlic. Season with sea salt, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20-minutes, stirring regularly, until the onions are soft and sweet.
  3. Boil a small pan of salted water. Blanch the tomato for 15-seconds, then cool, peel, chop roughly, and add to the pan. Cook for 10 more minutes.
  4. Using the same boiling water, blanch the celery for 3-minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the pan.
  5. Add the capers, sultanas, and pine nut kernels to the pan. Stir together and cook for 2-minutes. Turn off the heat, add 100-150ml of vinegar, and season with salt. Let sit for 5-minutes, then adjust seasoning, adding sugar or honey if needed.
  6. Heat a large pan with half olive oil and half vegetable oil to 170°C. Drain the liquid from the courgettes and aubergines, then fry in batches until golden brown. Transfer to a bowl lined with kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.
  7. Once all the aubergines and courgettes are fried, add them to the other pan and stir gently to avoid smashing them.
  8. Season again with a little vinegar and adjust salt levels as needed.
  9. Finally, stir in the basil leaves, allowing them to wilt in the residual heat.

To cook the lamb:

  1. Light the barbecue and wait until the coals turn grey/white.
  2. Drizzle oil and season the lamb ossobuco generously with sea salt.
  3. Place the lamb on the grill, cooking for 2-minutes on each side. Continue cooking for an additional 4-6 minutes, flipping every 30-seconds.
  4. Remove from the grill and let rest for at least 10-minutes.
  5. Serve the lamb ossobuco with a generous spoonful of caponata and a lemon wedge.

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