Narsai’s marinade with fresh, local lamb from the Sierra Foothills

Editor’s note: Easter is a time to enjoy fresh, local lamb. Ours is from Sinclair Family Farm in Penryn or the James Ranch in Penn Valley. One of our favorite marinades comes from Narsai David, who ran a restaurant in the small East Bay community of Kensington when I was in college at UC Berkeley. Narsai also was a longtime food and wine expert in the Bay Area media.

We regularly use his lamb marinade recipe. Narsai’s recipe is for a rack of lamb, but it is splendid for a butterflied leg of lamb on the grill. This week, we bought a fresh butterflied leg of lamb from James Ranch at the Nevada County Growers Market at North Star House, and it will be our Easter dinner meal. James Ranch supplies lamb to the famous Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. Narsai’s marinade recipe is simple; we add a sprig or two of fresh rosemary.

Put into a blender and puree:
1 large onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. basil leaves
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup pomegranate juice

Rub this marinade well into the lamb and put the remaining marinade over the lamb in a shallow glass or enameled pan. Set to marinate in refrigerator overnight, or at cool room temperature for 6 to 8 hours.

Wipe off excess marinade and roast in 450 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes for medium rare lamb, longer if you like lamb done to a greater degree.

A menu from Narsai’s restaurant, in its heyday, is here:

Recipe: Narasi M.David

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