It makes me sad that lamb is so under-utilized and under-appreciated. I love lamb! Whenever I want to introduce lamb to someone who may have had a bad experience, I give it to them in appetizer form. Getting a large chunk of a meat you don’t know or haven’t enjoyed in the past can be intimidating. Bite size appetizers are much more inviting in that if after a bite you don’t like it, you can stop right there without offending anyone.
I bought a lamb tenderloin to create appetizers with the tender meat. I would usually stack cold meat on toasted brioche, but I needed to add something studier to hold the little bites together. I used mini wafer crisps and topped them with hash-brown style sweet potatoes. I created many layers of flavors so the elements would complement each other. I made a mint goat milk yogurt sauce to pair with the lamb and finished the appetizer with two different kinds of Cypress Goat Cheese chevre to repeat the flavor.
1. Info for Lamb and Goat Cheese Appetizer Recipe
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 50 mins
- Servings: 28
- Calories: 191kcal
2. Ingredients for Lamb and Goat Cheese Appetizer Recipe
- 1-½ pounds lamb tenderloin
- 2 tablespoons papaya paste (see tips)
- 1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly cracked
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced and pureed
- 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
- 1-½ tablespoons rice flour
- 4 ounces Cypress Grove flavored chevre (see tips)
- 1 (3.4-ounce) package thin wafer bread crisps
3.1 Prepping the lamb tenderloin
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Pat dry the piece of meat using paper towels. In a large baking dish, rub the lamb with rosemary, garlic, papaya paste, red chili powder, dill powder and black pepper. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon canola oil, chill and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Remove the lamb from the refrigerator so it returns to room temperature.
Pat the meat dry one more time.
Place the probe of a digital oven-proof thermometer in the center of the meat. Roast the meat until the thermometer reads 145°F (see tips), depending on how pink you like the meat.
Cover with a piece of aluminum foil. Let the meat rest for 1 hour before slicing (I didn’t re-heat the meat as I also like eating it at room temperature). That way the meat stays very juicy and tender.
Slice the lamb into 3/4″-thick pieces and set aside.
3.2 Preparing the hashbrown-style sweet potatoes
Sprinkle rice flour over the sweet potatoes. Toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil until hot. Grease disposable gloves with oil, then form small sweet potatoes flattened patties. Lower the heat to medium-high and place the patties in the skillet. Brown the hash browns for about 3 minutes. Flip the hashbrowns using a flat spatula. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until golden. Transfer the patties onto a platter lined with paper towels. Set aside.
3.3 Assembly time
Place the wafer crisps onto a serving platter. Top with the sweet potatoes. Spoon a little mint yogurt sauce. Layer a slice of lamb and finish with a chunk of chevre (one of the flavorings of your choice).
4. Tips and advices:
- I use green papaya as a meat tenderizer to ensure moist and juicy meat. The papaya paste was Baji, my husband Lulu’s late grandma’s secret for tender and moist meat. Peel a green papaya. Grind the cubed papaya with seeds in a mini food processor; place about 2 tablespoons of papaya paste per slot in an ice-cube tray and freeze them. Transfer the ice-cubes into sealable plastic bags and place back in the freezer.
- I used Cypress Grove chevre. I selected Sgt.Pepper (exotic spices & pepper threads), Purple Haze (lavender), PsycheDillic (dill) and Herbs de Humboldt (Herbes de Provence).
- You can find dill seed powder in most Indian markets.
- I used Water-Wheel brand thin wafer bread crisps. I bought them at a local market called the Milk Pail Market. The address is 2585 California Street, Mountain View, CA 94040.
- The roasting time depends on how pink you like the lamb. If you want to be absolutely sure (and this is my fool-proof way of cooking lamb), just place a temperature probe in the center of the piece of meat, and remove the lamb from the oven when the thermometer registers at least 130°F (I prefer 145°F, so the meat is less rosy). You can get a digital thermometer at IKEA for a reasonable price.
- I love using an assortment of cold meats for appetizers. I let the lamb rest for 1 hour (until room temperature), so the meat remains tender without the juices dripping and turning the wafer soggy.
- How to make mint yogurt sauce: In a bowl, combine ½ cup honey-flavored goat milk yogurt, 2-½ tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, 2 teaspoons minced fresh dill, ¼ teaspoon red chili powder, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1 finely minced pickled garlic and 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk the yogurt using a fork until smooth. It’s ready!
- My secret to crispy hash browns is sprinkling rice flour over the shredded potatoes. Vietnamese cuisine calls for rice flour for a lot of fried items for a nice texture. You can find rice flour in most Asian stores, but I prefer grinding my own. I get a finer flour using the Nutrimill brand mill. I got it several months ago and it’s very useful to make any kind of flour.