Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mint Sauce

Bowl of Mint Sauce with Mint Leaf
Classic Lamb Chop Accompaniment

Recipe by Robin

Mint is growing again like crazy in shady spots. I’m always amazed at how it can freeze down to nothing in winter, but regenerate tall as ever in spring. With the Persian mint that Lynn (of Strawberry Mojito fame) gave me from her yard, and all the spearmint growing in our yard, mint jelly for our first (lamb) BBQ seemed like a natural.

Persian Mint on Cutting Board
Persian Mint is Mild
But it’s okay to take the easy way out. Eliminating the pectin, the jars, the lids, and pressure cooker, I downgraded mint jelly to mint sauce. Little did I know that I’d prefer the sauce to the jelly with the lamb. Even my husband, a diehard mint jelly with lamb fan, enjoyed the sauce quite a bit, though it would be an exaggeration to say he preferred it.  

Mint Julep Spearmint
Mint Julep Mint is Strong
Any kind of spearmint will work in this recipe. Spearmints look just like they sound, with elongated pointed leaves. Persian mint, true spearmint, and the mint that’s used in mint juleps can all be used. You can also use a store-bought mint with rounded leaves, a similar species to the traditional mint used for sauce in England. Peppermint is too strong and sharp to use alone, however a small quantity might be used with other mints. I combined Persian mint and mint julep mint. Next time I’d consider adding a bit of flavored (spear) mint, like chocolate mint or orange mint.

You may want to cut this recipe in half. It’s best to make it 3 or more hours before serving so that the flavors will blend. I didn’t have time to do this, and it tasted fine, but noticeably better the following day.

Can you think of other uses for mint sauce besides an accompaniment for lamb?

Bowl of Mint Sauce with Spoon
Two-Mint Sauce
Mint Sauce
makes about 1 cup

¼ cup malt vinegar
½ cup water
2 tbsp. superfine sugar
a few dashes salt, or to taste
1 cup packed mint leaves

Heat vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in small saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. When still warm, taste and adjust salt and sugar if needed. Cool completely.

Remove the ribs from mint leaves if they’re stringy (eg. from a hefty spearmint that’s taking over your yard). Chop roughly with sharp knife, or tear up large leaves.

Put cooled vinegar mixture and as many mint leaves as can be immersed into the cup of an immersion blender. Push mint leaves below the surface of the liquid. Use the blender to chop up the leaves finely and combine with liquid. Repeat with remaining mint leaves until all have been blended. Remove any stringy parts of leaves that didn’t blend in.

Let the flavors combine for 3 hours (if practical) and serve at room temperature. It is traditionally served with Grilled Lamb Chops.

No comments:

Post a Comment