Monday, 4 March 2013

Quick 'n' Dirty - Lamb with Chilli and Coriander (Cilantro), with Greek Salad

I realised recently that part of the reason I struggle to post some weeks is that my everyday foods are probably too boring to write about. And, given that I'm quite time-poor a lot of the time, trying out a whole new recipe can seem daunting, especially if it's complicated. That, and my waistline has been... shall we say... rampant of late, so I've been trying to cut down on my one true love - baked goods. Don't worry, it won't last forever ;) But it has inspired me to try out (or invent) a bunch of "Quick 'n' Dirty" recipes to keep things healthy and interesting for me on weeknights, and also for you!
Last week was my first try at something new. It was my turn to cook, and I had taken lamb fillets out of the freezer but had no clear idea what I was going to do with them. So when I walked in the door after work, starving, I knew that whatever I made had to be quick. I also think it's a sin to over-cook lamb unless it's a tougher cut that is supposed to be stewed, so frying it was the only option. I raided the fridge and the spice cabinet, and this is what I came up with.
INGREDIENTS (serves two):
400g lamb fillets (basically lean lamb steaks. 400g was four small ones)
1/2tbsp olive oil (+1/2tbsp more - see below)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2tbsp squeezy coriander (I'm sure fresh would be nicer though - it usually is!)
1tsp chilli powder (depending on how hot you like it)
1 huge tomato or two smaller ones
1/3 large cucumber
40g feta cheese
1/4 red onion
6 pitted kalamata (black) olives
1/2tbsp olive oil
1/2tbsp apple cider vinegar (or other acid - I wanted to use lemon juice but had no lemons)
Mint would make a nice addition but I had none of that, either :(
Tip half of oil over steaks. Evenly apply chilli, garlic and coriander to it and rub in. Make sure both sides are covered.
Heat a pan without oil. When hot, put steaks on. Remember that lamb is best cooked medium and a little pink in the middle, so don't overcook it! It took about 2 or so minutes on the first side, then I flipped them, let them cook for another minute and then turned off the flame and let the residual heat do the rest. The timing will depend on what your pan is made of and how much heat your stovetop retains. Don't leave it in the pan too long, though, because the lamb will continue to cook even after you remove it from the pan.
Meanwhile - and this should take you less time than the lamb takes to cook if the ingredients are already out - slice cucumber lengthways, then lengthways again (longitudinal quarters), then chop into 2cm pieces. Cut tomato in half (top to bottom), remove the yucky bit at the top, then cut each piece in half longitudinally, and then 3 or 4 times as if you were cutting wedges, but now each wedge will already be cut in half. Or, you know, cut it in wedges then cut each wedge in half! Cube feta. Slice olives. Combine all ingredients besides feta in a bowl, put remaining olive oil and vinegar on it and toss to combine.
Place salad on two plates, and crumble feta over the top. Next, slice lamb fillets into 1.5cm pieces and arrange on top.
I imagine it would be nice with a dollop of minted yoghurt on top, but I'd had enough dairy for one day. Oh, and I had no mint!
So, reader, what is your go-to Quick 'n' Dirty recipe?


  1. I love lamb, but cannot abide coriander. Not even a sliver of a leaf in a dish.

    When I just cannot be bothered, it's so easy to just stick a steak in the George Foreman grill and steam a handful of vegies in the microwave. Super healthy, and only takes about 6 minutes.

    1. It's strange because squeezy coriander doesn't taste that much like coriander, especially not when garlic and chilli come out to play! I actually would have preferred mint, but there was none.

      I do the same thing, only with a frypan (don't own a George Foreman grill). The vegies take about the same time to cook as a steak and it's done and dusted, and only two pots have been dirtied!

  2. Well, I don't think this is boring at all, quite the contrary! Marvellous flavours coming together and the cheese just completes it so well!

    1. Isn't it amazing how adding just one ingredient makes a meal that would be otherwise ordinary into something just that little bit more special. I was thinking of the phrase "icing on the cake" and now it's got me wondering whether I should "invent" some feta icing (you can see how my mind works!). I've done it with goat cheese before...

  3. Oh, I need this. NOW! :)

    That looks fantastic...bookmarking this on my computer!

    1. It was amaaaazing :) Just be careful you don't overcook the lamb and I think the rest should take care of itself.


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