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Lamb Won Tons

After a small hiatus, I’m back in the kitchen hard at work for Cameron Hughes Wine. This round of work has a new focus and direction. With some wonderful new Lot releases, the search for perfect flavors to pair with each wine was on. The first of a handful of recipes actually came together in the very last minutes before the cameras were turned on.

First, the wine. Lot 296 Crozes-Hermitage won the gold medal at the San Diego International Wine Fest. My first taste provoked a lot of food thought right away. I wanted to do something new and different with this wine. It is strong enough that it could hold up to some bold flavors, and my first thought was something gamey. From the tasting notes: “Lot 296 has piercing white pepper and rose petal aromas that leap out of the glass. Elegant and nimble on its feet with rose-petal, exotic spice, lush black cherry and currant fruit mingling with incense and blackberry essence. A tremendous wine, harmonious, generous and pure.” I started the recipe with the determination to use ground Lamb. Because this was a summer release, I needed to be sure that this dish had a good taste of the seasons offerings. After a lot of debate, research, and discussion, I landed on summer squash as a pivotal ingredient. I took the idea of incorporating the squash and the lamb together and ran with it. A riff on a meatball / meatloaf was what was at the forefront of my thoughts, so I ended up trying about 4 different combinations of things and landed on one that was holding up better than the rest. I had constructed a lamb meatball, with tiny diced summer squash, zucchini, red onions bound with an egg, Worcestershire, and panko bread crumbs. From here, I wanted to add a little dimension and fun to the dish, so the serving vessel was going to be a won ton skin, baked like my Brie Blossom recipe. To make sure everything was cooked through and not burned, I browned off the meatballs in a little bit of olive oil before placing into the raw won ton skin. These were then finished in the oven. A perfect doneness and texture was produced. Lastly, I topped the creation with a little Mediterranean inspired yogurt sauce (Greek yogurt, mint, cucumber, lemon zest), topped with a perfectly sweet slice of green grape, and a simple pickled onion.

The combination turned out perfect. The crunch from the won ton, the savory from the lamb and squash, paired with the cool greek yogurt, mint, sweet grape and acidic onion made for an incredible pairing. The wine soft and perfectly dry, enhancing all of the flavors of the food and vice versa. I knew we were off to a strong start with this summer appetizer.