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Grenache Day Menu

a plate of food with broccoli

Grenache Day is always the third Friday in September. Here are a few recipes that I think will pair nicely with a selection of grenache based wines. Like many varietals, Grenache has a wide spectrum of flavor profiles. I picked the padron peppers to bring out the vegetal qualities that you can find in the wine, the lamb for its meatiness and of course the fig clafouti because pourquoi pas? 

a plate of food with broccoli

Padron Peppers
Serves 6

1 pound Padrón peppers
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ tablespoon Maldon Sea Salt
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (condimento or saba can be substituted)

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until almost smoking.
In a small bowl combine the peppers and oil and add them to the skillet. Sear the peppers on all sides until browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat.

To serve: Place the peppers on a serving dish and sprinkle them with salt and bread crumbs. Add a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar over the top.

a plate of food on a table

Grilled Lamb Loin, Summer Beans, Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Serves 6

For the lamb: 
3 pounds lamb loin
1 bunch fresh rosemary, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

For the beans:
1 pound haricots verts, blanched
1 pound yellow wax beans, blanched
2 pounds fresh Shelling Beans, cooked
1 tablespoon blended oil 

For the vinaigrette:
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, for garnish
2 tablespoons chives, cut into 1-inch pieces, for garnish
¼ cup oil-cured olives, such as Nyons, pitted and cut in half, for garnish 

To prepare the marinade:
In a large pan place the lamb loin, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

To prepare the vinaigrette:
In a small bowl rehydrate the sun-dried tomatoes in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain the tomatoes, place them in a food processor, and purée with olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To prepare the lamb:
Preheat a grill to high. Remove the lamb loin from the marinade, removing any excess oil and the garlic. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Cook the lamb on a hot grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side.

To prepare the beans:
While the lamb is cooking, place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Heat the blended oil and add the beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste and heat through, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss the beans with half of the vinaigrette.

To serve:
Slice the lamb into 12 portions. Place two pieces of lamb on each plate and distribute the beans evenly over the top. Garnish with the herbs and olives and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette around each plate

a close up of a piece of cake on a plate

Black Mission Fig Clafouti 
Serves 6

For the clafouti: 
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
1⅓ cups sugar
Pinch of salt
2½ cups whole milk
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
6 tablespoons Armagnac or brandy
8 large eggs
12 fresh figs, halved (1 cup rehydrated dried figs, quartered, can be substituted) 

For the caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup heavy cream
Powdered sugar, for garnish

To prepare the clafouti: 
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Butter a 9-inch cake pan and set it aside. Sift together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Form a well and using a fork, mix in the milk, melted butter, Armagnac, and eggs. Beat until smooth and strain through a fine-mesh sieve.

Place the figs face down in the cake pan and cover with the clafouti mixture. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the clafouti comes out clean.   

To prepare the sauce:
Heat the sugar in a stainless-steel pan over medium-high heat and stir occasionally until the sugar turns brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter, and whisk until the butter has melted. Add the cream and continue to stir constantly until the cream is completely incorporated.  (Makes about 1 cup)

To serve:
Slice the clafouti into 6 slices and transfer each slice to a plate. Drizzle each slice with the caramel sauce and dust with powdered sugar. You can also warm the clafouti in a low oven before serving.