Thursday, August 27, 2009

One Man’s Meat

I had a really good ‘living here is wicked’ moment the other day. I was shopping for a dinner I was having in order to get two people who make wine here on the island to meet each other. I wanted lamb shoulder cos I was too tired to do anything but stick something in the oven and let time and low heat do the work.

All the shops were closed cos it was the afternoon. Siesta time. Jesus dies every afternoon round about 3.30. The only shops open are the appalling Eroski (what a name – love, winter sports and supermarket hell all in one word) and the ever excellent Spar. The meat counter in Notso Eroski is generally full of prepacked cuts of nearly off meat. The Spar has a proper butcher counter so I went there. When all the shops are open Jesus boasts five butchery outlets and 2 more with meat counters. That is a lot meat for a town no longer than 250 metres from start to finish.

Anyway I went up to the counter in the spar and asked for a shoulder of lamb. The ladybutcher pointed at a leg. All we got, she says. She’s lying. I know she is. I tell her to open up the meat locker and see if there are any inside. She opens and there hanging is a lovely whole lamb.” Aha,” I say. “So you do have lamb.”” Yes we do but I don’t know how to cut it up.” “Then let me assist you gentle butcherladywoman." She says yes, so round the counter I go and pick out the least blunt knife I can find. I flash my finest smile at her and she, as they always do, weakens at the knee. The lamb is still hanging in the cold room - long, dry and bloodless. I cut in to it around the scapula and then up and then down and then off. Bizarre. Lamb, along with rabbits do not have their shoulders attached to their bodies by ball and socket joints. The are simply attached. Not that unlikely in a rabbit given that all it has to do with its cuddly paws is eat lettuce and be lucky. But a lamb? Man that thing gotta stand on them legs. How do they do it?

So any way, le recipe:

If shoulder is frozen, remove it from freezer, kill someone you don’t like or who is causing you trouble by beating them repeatedly over the head, defrost it, then:

Rub shoulder of lamb with garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and rosemary. Splash that mother with wine. Lay it in a tray on a pile of sliced potatoes with a finger’s depth of water and bake it at 100ÂșC without fan for 6 hours.