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Lambchops with minted cucumber

Lambchops with minted cucumber ┬ęDPaul Brown

Somewhat recently, we went in with two other couples and invested in a lamb from Stemple Creek in Marin County. It's a great way to get farm-direct protein from a sustainable, grass-fed facility. It's also economical; our third of the share cost $93, and I think we ended up with almost 30 lbs of meat. I dutifully vacusealed all the various cuts (some more familiar than others) and stashed them in the freezer for consumption at our convenience.

Then, on recommendation from one of the friends in the lamb share, we joined Godfrey Family Farms' meat CSA. It's more of a mixed bag, with chickens, eggs, beef and what have you, depending on what they're harvesting at the moment. Our first shipment was earlier this month. Guess what was in it? More lamb.

Luckily, as you may already know, I love lamb and for that matter most nubile mammals. So it's no hardship for us to find ways to enjoy it.

But a recent addition to our lamb repertoire comes courtesy of our dear friend Kathleen. On our last visit with her, she pan-grilled up some lovely little chops and slathered over a salad of marinaded cucumber. It was a revelation. This condiment, simply a mix of thinly sliced cucumbers, finely chopped mint and seasoned rice vinegar, is a perfect foil. It contrasts the meat in every way: Cold versus hot; bright versus earthy; crisp versus chewy; herbal versus gamy.

Recipe? Um, sure, I guess. Just take a cuke or two of your choice (I used kirby, but Persians or English would work just fine), peeled or not, seeded if too seedy, and slice thinly with a mandoline (or by hand if you're Iron Chef material). Chop the heck out of a good fistful of mint — more is more here. Mix in a bowl with several good shakes of seasoned rice vinegar. Adjust salt or sugar to taste, but it shouldn't need much. Let rest in the fridge until your succulent little chops are grilled and rested. Summerlicious!

Summerfest2010logo Wanna know what else is summerlicious? A buncha my favorite food bloggers are having a little event called Summer Fest 2010. Each week, they'll take on one of the season's most bountiful ingredients; this week it's cukes and zukes. So here's my tip of the hat to them. Be sure to check out Caron's roundup post to see what everyone else is up to; there's some darn delicious food going on out there — not least her own recipes for cucumber and radish confetti soup and zucchini pancakes. Yes, please.

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