The Greek name for this dish is: Kardia Arniou Stin Schara Kai Marathosalata.
Contains: Offal, dairy. Is: Quick and easy.
Recipe source: Michael Psilaktis’s book, How to Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking. Page 146.
I made this with one lamb heart, but am writing this up for two of them, to serve two people. It’s a fennel-based salad which uses lamb hearts – but you could readily substitute in lamb shoulder steaks (de-boned), or portions of butterflied lamb leg. My lamb comes from a locally-farmed pastured source.
There’s a little bit of yogurt in the recipe. I used a milk-derived Greek yogurt, but if you are lactose intolerant, I’m sure coconut or other plant-derived yogurts would work.
This recipe comes from Michael Psilakis’ How to Roast a Lamb: New Greek Classic Cooking. Other than quantity reduction from serving four in the cookbook, I made no recipe changes (other than using dried peppermint instead of the fresh mint – as I lacked the latter).
The cooking method here relies on a fast high-heat grilling for the heart. If thin enough, this removes the necessity for a “low and slow” braising method often otherwise used for hearts obtained from lamb, goats, or even cow. It is recommended NOT to cook the heart past medium rare. The heart is a muscle, not a gland, and it’s a hard-working part of the body – so overcooking it on a grill would be a mistake.
I used the George Forman grill instead of my charcoal one – weather was encroaching, and I didn’t want to fire up the charcoal for a small recipe.
Prep Time: 15 minutes.
Cook Time: 2-3 minutes.
Rest Time: 2-3 minutes.
Leftovers: Refrigerate. Should remain crunchy for a couple days.
Grilled Lamb Heart with Crispy & Shaved Fennel Salad
- 2 large lamb hearts 1
- 1/2 large bulb fennel (very cold), shaved crosswise on a mandoline or sliced paper-thin
- 1/4 small red onion (very cold), shaved on a mandoline or sliced paper thin
- 1 tablespoon finely snipped chives
- 4 leaves fresh mint, slivered (or approximate for dried flakes)
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped dill
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 more tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing of the heart
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt, drained
You’ll want to prep the hearts by trimming off the top of each heart at the top (the wide part with the fat cap). This fat cap doesn’t ever render down to anything edible. Reach inside the upper chambers and trim out any veins (I used kitchen scissors), to leave the red muscle. On the exterior, trim downwards to remove most of the exterior fat – essentially the larger clumps. Thin areas of fat won’t be an issue.
Cut through the dividing wall of the heart, and open up to butterfly. You will end up with two or three pieces of heart. Brush or wipe the meat on all sides with a little olive oil; add the salt and some ground pepper on both sides – about as much as you usually might for other cuts of lamb. Set aside.
In a moderate to large bowl, add the fennel, onion, chives, mint, dill, and add the salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss, and set this aside.
In a very small bowl, mix the yogurt and one tablespoon of the lemon juice – add a little salt and pepper.
Preheat your grill (charcoal, gas, or electric George Foreman-like unit), allow to get very hot. Grill the hearts about a minute per side – they should just get firm, and grill marks should be apparent.
Rest 2-3 minutes, then slice the hearts around ¼ inch thick, diagonally.
Add, still warm, to the fennel salad, and then add the dressing of 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Toss this, with some fresh ground pepper and any additional salt to taste.
Place about half of the yogurt mixture at the bottom of each individual plate or bowl – then top with the fennel/heart salad. Ideally, serve while the sliced heart is still warm.
NOTE: I served this recipe with a Greek spinach salad, see previous post. I originally made this for the Cooking Bites Cookbook Game #5. Made back on the 16th.