Grilling in February isn’t unheard of where I live. I’m lucky to live in an area where there are many winter days that are sunny and dry. On days like that, that come between storms, I get the urge to roll my little grill out of the garage where I keep it and grill away.
Today was one of those days and I found myself in the mood to grill. But what? A quick inventory of the the fridge turned up fennel and asparagus which both grill up nicely, a further search turned up up spring lamb chops.
Now that I knew what I was going to grill I headed to the back yard for some herbs. Rosemary, definitely a must have, for the lamb. Some thyme for the veggies, but not English thyme, I have some lime scented thyme in my garden. I know lemon is a good accompaniment to both asparagus and fennel, so why not lime? I marinate the lamb in olive oil, garlic and rosemary, the asparagus and fennel in olive oil and the lime thyme.
I decided to add one item that didn’t require grilling, a nice soft “pumpkin” polenta. I had some roasted winter squash left over and decided that this recipe from The Tra Vigne Cookbook, Seasons in The California Wine Country, by Michael Chiarello was just begging to be tried. It was fantastic. The perfect accompaniment to the grilled lamb and veggies.
Put a little summer into your winter days by firing up your grill in between storms.
Soft “Pumpkin” Polenta
1 ½ cups chicken stock
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch ground white pepper
5 tablespoons polenta
5 tablespoons semolina
1 cup roasted winter squash pureed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Combine stock and cream in a heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the polenta and semolina and cook over very low heat, whisking regularly, until the grains are soft, about 8 minutes. Whisk in the squash then the cheese.
What to buy at the Farmers’ Market:
Thyme (lemon or lime)