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Lolita Jamison Lamb Dinner

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I think this is deserving of its own thread, even though there is already a Lola/Lolita thread, because last night's dinner was as much about Jamison Lamb as it was about Lolita.

John and Sukey Jamison trundled across from Latrobe PA to Cleveland last night to host this fabulous meal featuring their lamb. I have never had lamb this good and was concerned that I'd have to go to Lola or Lolita to get it - until I learned that it (and the entire Jamison story) is available to the world through the magic of the internet and overnight shipping! Jamison Farm

And I'd like to thank Linda Griffith for typing up the menu items for the Cleveland Food & Wine Forum - so I didn't have to!

Course 1:Baby Arugula Salad with crispy lamb rillette,tiny cubes of feta and cherry vinaigrette, accompanied by a splendid Greek Rose, Kir-Yianni, Akakies, Naoussa, 05. I sighed with delight as I ate this - lamb cooked in lamb fat, oh my!


Course 2: Two divine Pan-Seared Scallops with small bits of house-made Lamb Sausage, and Baby Butter Beans, plated in Lamb Saffron Broth.


Course 3: White Bean Agnolotti that were made by hand by Lolita Chef Matt Harlan. Light as a feather, with just the right balance between the cheese and the bean. Superlatively-flavored and tender pieces of braised lamb, tender chard and some of the braising broth. Wine: Anne Amie,Couvee A, Pinot Noir, Oregon, 05.


Mr. DeMille - I'm ready for my close up:


Course 4: A Grilled long-Frenched bone lamb chop topped with a salad of Meyer Lemon, Mint, Pistachio and a coulis of roasted/smoked Eggplant. After reading about Micheal Rulhman's recent chicken-bone eating experience, I was tempted to eat this bone, it was so delicious! Wine: Langmeil, Valley Floor Shiraz, Barossa, O5.



Course 5: Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb on Butternut Squash Polenta, topped with Pickled Fennel and Mache. I tihnk Linda described this spot-on: "Medium rare, thin slices of lucious lamb...delicate and sweet...tender as a baby's ahem...the polenta was exceptionally delicious (a mental reminder to try this myself) and the fennel was a delightful counterpoint." Wine: C.G. Arie,Zinfandel,Shenandoah Vallley 04.


For this photo, I moved the salad to the side so the photo might better illustrate the lamb (a dangerous move, since Michael Symon had already admonished one diner for taking their greens off the meat during an earlier course :laugh: )


Dessert...Parsnip-Carrot Cake applause for Chef Cory! Again, Linda nailed it with her description: "A thin cap of gelled raisin over the cake was totally delicious, as was the long drizzle of pineapple caramel. And I want more of the sheeps milk yogurt that appeared at first to be a cloud of whipped cream on the side.: Wine was Chateau Cadillac Bordeaux, 02 which, as Linda noted, was a marvelous shade of gold.



What a wonderful meal - Chefs Symon and Harlan truly displayed why this lamb is so special and worthy of expense and trouble to acquire!

Edited by NancyH (log)

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I have just a few comments to add to Nancy's post.

First of all, it was a delight to meet John and Sukey Jamison. They are producing an extraordinary product, and their dedication to excellence shows.

John was looking dapper in his jacket, tie, and neatly-pressed bib overalls :laugh: . He gave a little speech at the beginning of the meal, giving us some background on why they do things the way they do. There were some great anecdotes from the early years, particularly about meeting the late Jean-Louis Palladin, who was their first chef-customer. He embraced their product as the first lamb he had found in North America that was equal to that from his homeland. (Though the famous Breton pré-salé apparently "tastes of ze feesh". Fortunately, the Jamison lamb didn't bring that to mind).

The wine pairings were terrific. Bill Barefoot from 55 degrees (an Ohio distributor) described the wines as they were poured. Here's the Kir-Yianni Rosé that accompanied the first two courses:


Aside from the lovely color, this was especially successful paired with the rillette course, echoing the cherry gastrique beautifully. The Château Manos dessert wine was also memorable ; a botrytized Sémillon - Sauvignon Blanc blend with rich fruit (pear? apricot?). Luscious, but not the least bit cloying. A brilliant accompaniment to Cory's beautiful dessert, standing up to the dense fruit of the raisin gelée.

This was clearly a labor of love for both chefs Michael Symon and Matt Harlan. They were generous (and patient!) in sharing the cooking methods employed. Enquiring minds want to know! (and it wasn't just me) :wink:

Symon's introduction to each course was brief and settled on a common theme - let the quality of the lamb speak for itself. Sure, the dishes were gorgeous, and the flavor combinations were inventive. But the lamb itself was always the star of the dish. The roasted leg of lamb from course five speaks to this: the meat was quickly seared and then roasted low-and-slow for several hours on a bed of rosemary. The result was subtly perfumed (but not overpowered) by the herbs, and absolutely succulent.

The saffron broth from course two was amazing. The eggplant purée from course four was smokey, complex, intriguing. Can you tell from the picture of the agnolotti that Matt spent a few hours ahem! under the watchful eye of Thomas Keller? :wink:

This dinner was the second in a series of special events showcasing the farmer/producers who supply Lolita with superb ingredients (The first was the Ohio Honey dinner sponsored by Slow Foods ).

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