Petrini's butcher - what cut are lamb blocks?
The point of this blog is to find out if anyone knows the cut of lamb for Petrini's lamb blocks?
I wonder if it is lamb shoulder?
Googling Petrini's, I came upon this site. All those lovely memories of Petrini's. I lived in San Francisco and Berkeley for 15 years as a young wife and mother, and, once a week, would travel to Petrini's. What a fabulous butcher.
One of the things I used to buy was lamb blocks, and, being Australian, they were a favourite. What I did was to coat them with French mustard beaten in egg white, then roll them in breadcrumbs (I made my own bread, and cooked bread for a health food store on Thornhill Drive in Montclair). Then I sat the lamb blocks on a bed of fresh rosemary and oven baked them for a couple of hours, until they were crisp and beautiful.
I still have the written menus that I would do each week to plan meals so that I could shop efficiently.
This was back in 1970's through to about 1982. I loved going there. You could guarantee that anything you bought was top quality. Sad to hear that nobody kept it going.
Meg Viney (was Cantor in those days)
Sorry I don't have a name for you re: lamb blocks. But for a Petrini-like meat counter in the East Bay, consider Lunardi's Market.
My favorite at Lunardi's include the calves' liver and the veal kidney chops & they also cut diamond jim roasts, just like Petrini's used to.
Although we live in Oakland, we go to the one in Pleasant Hill/Walnut Creek at Geary & Pleasant Hill Road (600 Palos Verdes Mall) during the summer so we can also get fresh corn at a nearby farm stand.
You're right -- lamb blocks don't seem to exist anymore. The various stores which took over the former Petrini's locations seem to have kept some of the old Petrini's spirit but not all the former cuts of meat. The block was shoulder and has probably ended up as chops and ground meat.
Petrrini's had two block cuts of lamb...Shoulder blocks and rib blocks. The rib blocks were a bit more expensive than shoulder blocks but did contain a fair size chunk of lamb. We cooked the rib blocks like shanks, but used the shoulder blocks for stew. I don't know why upscale markets have stopped carrying these cuts, but I have never understood that rationale of meat cuts in some markets. They seem to rely quite a bit on clever names, like calling top sirloin "chateaubriand".
If you are interested in meat cuts, you might like this site.
Try Wayland's Meat in Oakland. Wayland had an old-fashioned butcher training and does his own cuts. He probably knows what a lamb block is and could give you pretty much what you remember..
Wayland's Meat at 3421 Fruitvale Avenue in Oakland, across from Farmer Joe's.
510 530 3344
You might call Jeff at 415.626.4400 in the meat department at Falletti's Market. He's working this coming Sunday from 9am-6pm and he was at Petrini's at Fulton & Masonic in San Francisco - back in the day. He might have more history on Petrini's lamb blocks for you.
Hi, Meg: I live in Oakland and regularly shop at the Piedmont Market, which has a good meat counter with knowledgeable butchers. Yesterday, while shopping I spotted something labeled "lamb block," at $4.95 a pound. Since all other cuts of lamb (cubes were over $10 a pound), I decided to give it a try. I was warned that it was a tougher cut and there were large bones in each slice. My plan is to treat it like osso boca. I'm going to brown the blocks in olvie oil, then cook them in beef broth and red wine for a couple hours. Then add carrots, onions, celery root and herbs. At the last moment, I'll toss in sliced mushrooms.
A lamb block is usually an extra thick Shoulder Blade chop. Some of the markets mentioned may carry them and some may not, but if the shops break their own lamb or order chuck primal sections, they can cut them for you. Call in your order ahead of time as some markets will break down Lamb only 2 or 3 days a week. If they don't know what you are talking about, just ask them for a thick Shoulder chop or Round Bone chop.
I second the suggestion of Lundardis which is where i do mots of my meat shopping. I am in san jose, but was just in my local store and they had 'lamb shoulder blocks' on display