Monday, June 19, 2006

the taste of lamb

An interesting blog article on the taste of lamb by Frank Bruni:
[T]wo friends and I bite into a cylinder of flesh encrusted with various herbs. One of those friends looks puzzled, concerned.

“This is lamb?” she asks.

“According to the menu,” I answer.

At which point her husband looks even more unsettled.

“I thought it was tuna,” he says. It sounds like a wild, ridiculous comment, but it really isn’t. The pale red flesh has a luscious texture — it’s a marvel of silken pliancy — but little discernible flavor.

Where has all the lamb-i-ness gone?

Bruni goes on to talk about how many diners prefer mild tasting meats, such as very young, lean, grass-fed lamb, and filet mignon. These meats have great texture, but not much flavor (which is why filet gets wrapped in bacon). As a result of this trend, lamb in many restaurants tends to be pretty flavorless, and not taste much lamb at all. (The lamb in Greek neighborhoods such as the one I live in tends to be cuts that are very flavorful, however! Especially when grilled on a skewer as souvlaki...)

He concludes by recommending a restaurant in Midtown called Keens Steakhouse, which features a 28-ounce "mutton" (actually 10-month old lamb, which is not quite mutton) chop. Very flavorful, and not at all like tuna. Coincidentally, blogger Amateur Gourmet went to that restaurant recently and has an amusing writeup of his experience.

(Image by Darragh Sherman, Some Rights Reserved)



At 4:53 PM, Anonymous SB said...

Did you see R.W. Apple's "Much ado about Mutton" in the NYTimes in March? The Missus loved it because, although she would never eat mutton, she loves wordplay.

He says:

But the city's most famous ''mutton'' offering, the Brobdingnagian chop served at the venerable Keens Steakhouse near Madison Square Garden, is actually just an outsize (if invariably delicious) hunk of lamb. Not mutton dressed up as lamb this time, but lamb dressed up as mutton.

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Harlan said...

:) Excellent use of Brobdingnagian, indeed! No, I didn't see that article; thanks for linking to it. Bruni notes in his posting that it's not really true mutton, but he doesn't cite his colleague at the Times. Verrrry interesitng...!


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