I love to cook, and cook up a storm. I have no problem with whipping up a batch of homemade tagliatelle on a Thursday night, or two-day slow-cooked smoked Carolina-style pulled pork. But sometimes I want dinner to be simple, to leave more time for lounging on the patio (in our case a tiny cement space between our bungalow and our neighbors) inhaling the fresh sea air and less time standing over a steaming sink of dishes. Which is why I so love this lamb burger with mint and pistachio salsa verde recipe from my dear friend Brooke over at Food Woolf. It's savory, summery and super easy.
But what do you pair it with? I vote for Mencía, the Spanish grape variety that K&L's Keith Mabry describes as "the lovechild of a Cabernet Franc from Chinon and a spicier, meatier Pinot Noir from the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy." The 2007 Castro Ventosa "El Castro de Valtuille" Mencía Joven Bierzo, at $12.99, is priced perfectly for burger night but, like the lamb burger, delivers so much more than that moniker implies. It comes from the Perez family holdings in the Spanish DO of Bierzo, from their youngest vines (20- 40-years-old) and is a great introduction to the grape. Mulchy, garrigue-like aromas complement the dark, sweet raspberry and black cherry fruit on the nose and palate, as well as the nuttiness and minty freshness of the salsa verde on the burger. Its seamless texture, fine-grained tannins and bright acidity will help it stand up to the slight gaminess of the lamb without overpowering it, but it's not so heady as to wear on the simplicity of the meal. Ah, weekends.
What are some of your favorite lamb pairings?