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Help me fill out the missing link in my summer menu

I'm having some people over for dinner, and was looking around for ideas for a summer menu. I eventually came by a suggestion that I liked, and ended up with this:

Appetizer: Chilled Avocado Soup Shots[1]
Main: Grilled leg of Lamb [2] with Savoy Slaw [3]

For dessert I'm doing home-made ice cream and some kind of warm fruit.

My question is: For the main, we have lamb and slaw. Seems like a good combination. However, I'm looking for something "saucy" to go with them, and because of the flavor profile I'm not sure what will work.

Suggestion 1) Roasted tomato and ancho salsa. There's ancho on the lamb, so this might pair well?

Suggestion 2) Tzatziki - who doesn't like Tzatziki with a barbecue? But I'm afraid it'll clash with the slaw.

Suggestion 3) Some reduction of stock, wine and meet juices as a simple sauce.

I was also thinking about having freshly baked pitas with the main. So, what do you think? Too many things? Would you miss a sauce of some kind with the lamb+slaw combo?

[1] http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/201...
[2] www.grouprecipes.com/62113/strawberry...
[3] http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/201...

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  1. Ancho is the dried pod of the fresh poblano? Which are you using? Ancho salsa does not appeal to me, but poblano would work. Why not use a different fresh chile in the salsa like jalapeno or better yet the more pungent serrano?

    1. I would certainly add something starchy to the menu. Pita's would be good, but I might suggest to do a vegetarian bean dish. Not sure how well you know your guests, but provides something substantial for vegetarians or lamb haters as well as a nice side for grilled meat. The salsa would be a nice adder to this, or you could do a bean dish with the tomato and ancho's.

      1. Why not some kind of vegetarian dish, a quinoa salad with vegetables and a nice salad dressing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Ruthie789

          I agree with this^^.

          Something "bright" to offset the richness of the lamb. Perhaps a salad with quinoa or couscous or white beans offered as part of it or on the side, with a lemony-dressing. Guests who eat lamb could have the salad/vegetables as is, and guests who are vegetarian could incorporate the quinoa/couscous/beans or what have you.

        2. Unless you are cooking for a low-carb crowd, I would definitely include some sort of starch with your main. Pitas sound good - people could make sandwiches with them, etc. If you do that, I'd go with tzaziki and maybe some hummus to dip both bread and lamb in, and maybe change the flavor profile of your slaw to tilt toward Greek. If you want to keep the Asian slaw, I'd do a rice dish for a side and maybe choose a hoisin-based sauce for the lamb.

          1. The link to your lamb recipe is actually a strawberry sauce so I don't know what goes into your spice rub, but I'd say a peanut salsa would tie both the Asian and Latin flavors you seem to have throughout the menu.

            I'm a fairly regular lamb eater, but I don't think I've ever paired it with slaw. Although savoy cabbage is soft and rather mild, I think the julienned vegetables and lamb would be complemented by a fluffy rice pilaf, maybe with almonds or pistachios.

            1. My first thought would be Romesco - I think it would go well with the lamb if you're concerned about Tzatziki clashing with the rest of the dish (though I love the Tzatziki lamb combo I'd be tempted to get it in the mix somewhere).

              I wonder what flavor your slaw is?

              Let us know and I think we could make a better recommendation.

              1. I like tatziki and would vote for that but it's only a side sauce (I'd also do toum which I love that on everything). If you want a starchy side, what about naan, grilled?


                1. How is the lamb cooked, and what cut are you presenting?

                  In general, I never crave a sauce with lamb, regardless of what else is going along with it.

                  I do think cous cous or quinoa or the like are welcome additions: something tasty about a little cous cous clinging to the bites of lamb....

                    1. Thanks for all you suggestions. I just returned from attempting to shop for this, and alas, it seems impossible to get a hold of a leg of lamb at this point. So that pretty much sinks the ship :/ I will consider some cut of beef to throw on the barbecue instead.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: cjohansen

                        Being a tatziki fan, I'd keep that part and maybe find a souvlaki or kofta kebab. Sounds like I'm making suggestions in hopes that I'm invited because your menu sounds good!

                        1. re: chowser

                          Hehe ;) I loves souvlaki too, but I seem to sometimes end up with a little dry meat.

                          I also like the light latin/greek cross-over in the original menu. I'm now considering going with the tzatziki and doing the original lamb recipe on a cut of beef instead.

                        2. re: cjohansen

                          Too bad. My local supermarket is swimming in lamb after the 4-H County Fair auctions. I got them to get 2 lamb necks for me, a very hard cut to find, and because they didn't even have a computer code for lamb neck, they charged me lamb bone price: $1.49 per pound. I'm in heaven.

                          1. re: Bada Bing

                            That's ridiculous! Now I'm envious :)

                            I'm in Norway - usually fresh lamb is easy to get around easter/early spring and in the fall. I didn't have time to thaw down a whole frozen leg of lamb now, so I opted for a big slab of ribeye instead :)

                        3. Greek Salad or Tabbouleh?

                          Shortbread Cookies with the dessert - otherwise it's all one mushy texture.