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Recipe courtesy of Domenica Catelli

Grilled Lamb Sandwiches with Apricot and Jalapeno Relish

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I love fruit with lamb, whether it is roasted grapes and figs in the fall, dried fruits in the winter or stone fruits in the spring and summer. The sweetness with the savory herbs is always a hit. My mom always served mint jelly with lamb when I was growing up. Adding fresh mint and honey into the mix is a throwback to those mint jelly days of my childhood. I encourage you to find a honey from your local area. Honey is a natural remedy for fighting hay fever or allergies. When you're out on a picnic, honey can help keep sensitivities at a minimum.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 45 min (includes marinating and cooling time)
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 sandwiches
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Ingredients

Walnut and Herb Pesto:

Directions

  1. Slice the lamb into 1/4-inch-thick slices and sprinkle with the sumac, salt and pepper. Place in a food storage bag or bowl and add a rosemary sprig and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
  2. Add the apricots, honey, mint, parsley, garlic, remaining tablespoon balsamic and leaves from the remaining 2 sprigs rosemary to a food processor. Turn on and stream in the oil. Add the jalapenos, a generous pinch of salt and fresh black pepper and pulse together until a relish texture is formed. Add 1/3 cup of the mix to the lamb for marinating. Seal and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to a day ahead. Keep the remaining relish refrigerated until ready to use.
  3. For the walnut and herb pesto: Add the walnuts, basil, mint, parsley, Parmesan, garlic, olive oil, walnut oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a food processor. Process until thoroughly combined. Adjust the seasoning and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  4. Remove the lamb from the marinade and let come to room temperature before cooking.
  5. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to high. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  6. Add the marinated lamb slices to the grill and cook, 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
  7. You can wait for the lamb to cool, then assemble the sandwiches, or you can make ahead of time, then refrigerate, and build the sandwiches when the lamb is cold.
  8. Sliced the bread pieces in half horizontally and toast in the oven just until the cut sides are crispy, about 3 minutes.
  9. Drizzle the lightly toasted bread with olive oil. Evenly spread the pesto and the reserved relish on the cut sides of the bread. Layer the lamb on the bottom piece of each sandwich. Top with some arugula and red onion. Lightly drizzle each with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the other half of the bread on top of each sandwich. Wrap each sandwich in waxed or parchment paper and pack for a picnic.

Cook’s Note

Slicing the lamb thin before cooking is not only a huge time saver, it also keeps the meat flavored on all sides. You can also make this on a flat-iron or grill pan on top of your stove. I like making herb pesto to keep on hand to add flavor to anything from eggs to sandwiches to dinner favorites.