Recipes: Invite the Taste of Greece to Your Feast
Emily Lycopolus offers up some great dishes starring two classic ingredients in her book, Greece: Recipes for Olive Oil and Vinegar Lovers.
Roasted Leg of Lamb
This often lands on our table for Saturday-night feasts with friends, not just on holiday occasions. Lamb cooked with the right seasoning is lovely, and I often prefer it to a beef or pork roast.
3–4 lb bone-in leg of lamb 1 head of garlic 4 Tbsp Lemon fused olive oil, divided 2 tsp sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling 1 tsp smoked paprika 1 large yellow onion 1 cup dry white wine 1/4 cup Apricot white balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup grainy Dijon mustard 2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp grated lemon zest
For a delicious, refreshing gravy, whisk 1/4 cup of pan drippings with 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt (page 17) and 2 Tbsp of chopped fresh mint leaves in a saucepan over medium heat. Add more drippings until it’s the consistency of a thick gravy and serve.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Pat dry the leg of lamb with paper towel.
Separate all the cloves of garlic from their skin. Using a paring knife, carefully slice small openings in the meat and insert a clove of garlic into each hole. Push the clove as far in as you can—if they’re too close to the surface, they might pop out during cooking. Place the lamb on a baking tray, drizzle with 2 Tbsp of the olive oil, and sprinkle with the sea salt and paprika.
Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, until seared and crisp on the outside. Turn the leg over, and roast for another 10 minutes. Remove the lamb from the oven and turn down the heat to 325°F.
While the leg is roasting, slice the onion into rounds. Whisk together the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, for your marinade.
In a roasting pan that fits the leg of lamb snugly, place the onions in an even layer over the bottom of the pan and put the leg of lamb on top. Pour the marinade over the leg, ensuring some of the herbs and zest stay on top of the meat. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and cover with a lid or foil, making a tent if you’re using foil.
Roast for 11/2 hours, then baste the leg, turn it over, and roast for an additional 45 minutes. Remove the lid or foil, baste the lamb again, and roast, uncovered, for 30 minutes. The meat will pull away from the bone and will be a rich caramel brown color. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 15 minutes before carving.
Greek New Year’s Cake (pictured above)
Delicious at any time of year, this pound-style cake is traditionally made for New Year’s Eve and is cut at midnight. Thanks to the Lemon fused olive oil, the cake is flavorful yet subtle, fluffy in texture, and has a lovely moist crumb. Dust it with icing sugar or drizzle it with an Apricot white balsamic vinegar icing sugar glaze.
Serves six to eight; Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
Cake 2 1/2 cups cake-and-pastry flour 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp sea salt 1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup Lemon fused olive oil 4 eggs 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
3/4 cup 2% milk To finish 1/4 cup Apricot white balsamic vinegar
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Drizzle a 9-inch round cake pan with some of the olive oil. Rub it in well to ensure all the surfaces are greased, then dust with some flour, and shake to ensure the pan is evenly coated in flour and any excess has been discarded.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and olive oil until fluffy and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well to incorporate each addition. Whisk in the yogurt, then one-third of the flour mixture, then half the milk, the second third of the flour mixture, then the remaining milk and then flour to create a completely smooth batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45–50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the outside. Let it sit for 10–15 minutes, then gently remove it from the pan and allow to completely cool on a wire rack.
For the glaze, in a small saucepan over low heat, warm the balsamic. Remove from the heat and begin to whisk in the icing sugar. When fully combined and lump-free, drizzle over the surface of the cake. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the top, and allow to cool and dry completely before serving.