Sometimes it’s all about the little things, right? Like this sweet apricot & yogurt mustard, intended to garnish my birthday celebration of roast lamb. My memories of lamb growing up at various family functions always involved some sickly sweet mint jelly from a jar that I thought had no place near any meat I was ever going to eat, often emanating a radioactive green hue that made me wonder if I could somehow get it to glow in the dark instead of garnishing a roast lamb. Needless to say, I’ve never really been able to get over that impression when it comes to mint jelly (though I’m sure if I tried a homemade version this impression could easily be altered), and so sought out something a little different to garnish my rack of lamb last weekend. Actually, I stayed away from mint altogether, since I already had mint with the peas – I decided instead to embrace the sweeter flavor of the mustard/pistachio crust, and made a great little garnish that rivals any mint jelly.
Maybe I should call this a dip, because I could just as easily dip crackers into it as I could use it to garnish meat. Either way, it was sweet and tangy, but not so potent that it overpowered the taste of the rich meat. It was also incredibly easy to throw together – no cooking, just add everything to the food processor and mix. You could use several different dried fruits here, I could easily see figs being used too – be a little adventurous, maybe you’ll find a great new flavor combination!
As for the chips, I was totally inspired by a 12 year old food blogger, who is super cute and created some of the most instructive cooking videos I have seen in a while – it just goes to show that cooking can be done at any age, and she is truly a great young talent! She posted a video about making sage risotto that included a garnish of sage chips. I took the idea one step further, and also made some morel chips out of fresh morels I got at the store this weekend. I was seriously giddy inside when I saw that there were fresh morels available at the market. If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a bit of a mushroom nut and love cooking with all sorts of mushrooms. Maybe I’m just a big fan of that umami element to food, or maybe mushrooms just freaking rock.
So how do fried morel chips taste? Great – the frying really enhanced their flavor, and I love how they were so crunchy like chips. I probably did not even have to salt them like I did the sage chips because they were so flavorful already. But I liked the contrast of the fried salty savory of the chips against the sweet apricot and mustard yogurt. I also liked how the textures contrasted as well, with crunchy chips complementing the smooth creamy yogurt mustard quite well. And it all went with the lamb, even with the minted peas. Thanks to a fantastic 12 year old cook for the inspiration!
Apricot & Yogurt Mustard:
100g dried apricots
1/2 cup sweet mustard
5 oz. greek yogurt
Sage & Morel Chips:
50 g fresh morels, halved lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 sprig fresh sage
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. olive oil
coarse ground sea salt
1. Pulse apricots in food processor until a smooth paste, add in yogurt and mustard, and pulse again until mixed together.
2. Melt butter and olive oil in a small skillet – when hot, add in garlic and let them fry for about a minute to infuse their flavor into the oil. Add in morel halves and sage leaves. Fry for a couple minutes and then flip over and let fry a couple minutes more.
3. Remove to a paper towel to soak up excess oil and salt generously.
4. Serve chips and apricot & yogurt mustard with roasted lamb, or as an appetizer dip with crackers, or however you like. Enjoy!