Skewered and Grilled Lamb and Figs with Mint-Pepper Glaze Recipe
I’m not talking about how some of the world’s most spectacular athletes likely felt these last couple weeks in London, no; I’m talking about something truly pleasurable involving skewers and a grill. And now that I’m no longer sleep deprived from staying up past my bedtime night after night taking in all that marvelous athleticism, I’m ready to host an event of my own!
With some special birthday celebrations coming up this month, August is the perfect time to give our year ‘round gas workhorse a break and fire up some real mesquite briquettes for a few special dinners. Our ancient Weber kettle grill spends practically the entire year stashed away beneath the deck under a shroud of tarp, but now I’m ready to hose down that charcoal burning relic and really do justice to one of our favorite summer meals: lamb and fresh fig skewers!
Both amazing on their own, the two become even more wonderful when marinated in garlic, coriander and cumin, grilled on a smoky barbecue and finished with a spicy, fresh mint glaze. I know these flavors sound perfectly at home on lamb, but on figs? The first time I made this I was amazed how delicious a fig smothered in garlic and spices could be, and now I double up on them whenever I make this!
Even if you’re not into lamb this is worth making for the figs alone. Whatever you like, anything hot off the grill and served on a stick is one of those quintessential summertime treats that is brilliantly enjoyable. And if you still have some glow on your briquettes after dinner, let your skewers pull double-duty and keep your guests grinning by taking advantage of them—the briquettes, that is—and making s’mores.
Adapted from Epicurious
- 2/3 cup apricot preserves
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
- 1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (from about 1 lemon)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1 Tbsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 Tbsp whole coriander seeds
- 3 pounds boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 12 fresh figs, halved vertically
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp freshly coarse-ground black pepper
- Prep lamb and figs
- Toast cumin and coriander seeds, separately in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, then coarsely grind in a spice mill or clean coffee grinder.
- In large bowl, toss together lamb, figs, and olive oil. Add garlic, ground cumin and coriander, salt, and pepper, and toss gently to combine. Let meat marinate for 30 minutes and prepare glaze.
- In small saucepan over moderate heat, stir together preserves, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest. Bring to boil, lower heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool 5 minutes. Stir in mint and set aside.
- Thread lamb cubes and figs onto separate skewers.
- Prepare grill for cooking*
- Arrange skewers on grill. Cook lamb to slightly less than desired doneness (cubes will continue to cook after being removed from grill), turning once and brushing with glaze during last 30 seconds of grilling on each side, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Cook figs about 2 minutes per side, also brushing with glaze during last 30 seconds on each side.
- Arrange lamb skewers on a large platter, gently remove figs from skewers, surrounding the lamb with the grilled figs, and serve.
*If using charcoal grill, open vents on bottom, then light charcoal. Charcoal fire is medium-hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 4 to 5 seconds. If using gas grill, preheat burners on high with hood closed 10 minutes, then turn down to moderately high heat.