Grilled Lamb Zataar and Roasted Red Beet Risotto

25 05 2010

Zataar is a Middle Eastern spice blend. There is a fantastic explanation and series of recipes on it over at A Taste of Beirut. I was fortunate to get a sample of the real deal from my friend Joumana. A great way to experience a spice profile is to stick with dishes that are simply prepared, dishes in which the spices themselves are forefront and center. I chose to coat a fresh rack of lamb in the Zataar and grill it. Perfection is sometimes knowing when not to do too much. The Zataar adds a subtle exotic herb and sesame note that works perfectly with the grilled meat. We served this meal with the classic risotto preparation, but added two roasted red beets at the end. The beets added a subtle earthiness and an additional textural component that married well with the lamb, not to mention a visually stunning addition to the plate. Serve this with an acidic white (like champagne or chardonnay) or a red with some backbone to cut through the richness of the dish’s components. This is a thirty minute meal worthy of being on any restaurant menu.