Adam Mali wins Lamb Jam SF

Local chef takes top honors at lamb competition

A shout out to Chef Adam Mali of Nick’s Cove who took Best in Show at the SF Tour of Lamb Jam on July 17.

Similar in concept to the popular Cochon 555, which features chefs competing for the best pig-based dish, Lamb Jam taps local chefs to show off their best lamb dish.

Competing this year were chefs from throughout the Bay area, including Jeff Mall of Zin in Healdsburg and Josh Silvers of Petite Syrah and Jackson’s; Jefferey Lunak of Morimoto Napa as well as chefs from SF’s Tacolicious, Fifth Floor and Wente Vineyards in Livermore.

Mali’s award-winning recipe was a Braised Lamb Shank with lemon-stewed cannelini beans, and a lavender-mint gremolata. He will compete in New York City in September with chefs from throughout the country.

Braised Lamb Shank, Lemon Stewed Cannellini Beans, Lavender-Mint Gremolata
Chef Adam Mali, Nick’s CoveIngredients
4 Shanks
1 Yellow Onion
2 Carrots
3 Ribs Celery
10 Cloves Garlic
1 Quart Zinfandel or Syrah
2 Quarts Veal Stock or Beef Broth
1/2 Cup Sherry Vinegar
1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Bunch Thyme
1 Sprig Rosemary
2-3 Bay Leaves
1 Bunch Mint
1 or 2 Sprigs Lavender
1 Cup Honey
Salt to TasteIn a dutch oven, brown the lamb shanks evenly. Remove the lamb, and discard most of the fat, and add a drizzle of olive oil; caramelize the carrots, onion, celery, then add the garlic. Add the wine, and reduce by 1/3, then add the stock. Put the lamb shanks back into the dutch oven, bring liquid to a simmer, cover and cook in a 350 degree oven for about 4 hours. The lamb should almost fall off the bone, but still hold its’ shape. Add salt little by little to the lamb and stock, and mix until the salt is to taste. Let sit, and remove the fat which will rise to the top. Cool, take the lamb shanks out of the liquid, and reduce the liquid by half. Reheat the lamb shanks in the stock.

For the Beans:
2 Quarts Cannellini Beans
1 Sprig Rosemary, minced
1 Small Bunch Thyme, minced
Juice and Zest of One Lemon
2-3 Cloves of Garlic, Finely Minced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Bay Leaves
Kosher Salt to Taste

Soak the beans in water the night before you are ready to cook them.To cook: Add the beans and the water they soaked in to a pot. Bring to a simmer, and test the beans every 20 minutes or so. When the beans are soft, but are not falling apart, they are ready. Take off heat. Add salt to taste (little by little to bring up the salt level, but don’t over salt), microplane or grate lemon zest into beans, then squeeze lemon juice. Sauté garlic, but do not brown. Add a little white wine to stop browning, and reduce a little bit. Add whole mixture to beans and stir. Add herbs last. Let sit for an hour. To reheat, add beans and liquid to a pan, with a little really good olive oil, and a little butter on a medium heat. Cook until liquid thickens.

For the Gremolata:
1 Bunch Parsley, finely minced, put on a kitchen towel and slightly dried
1 Bunch Mint, finely minced
1 Bunch Lavender, finely minced
Zest of Two Lemons – zested, put into boiling water for 30 seconds, dried on a towel, and minced
3 Cloves of Garlic, put into boiling water for 30 seconds, dried, and finely minced

When the above ingredients are allowed to dry for about 30 minutes, mix together. Sprinkle on lamb shank, which is sitting on the cannellini beans.