The Downtown Santa Monica Farmers Market is a weekly stop for many of Southern California’s local chefs. Hauling their rolling carts stacked high with crates and boxes of seasonal produce and ice chests full of meat and freshly caught seafood, you can always spot them as they make their way through the bustling crowd.
This week, we ran into chef/co-owner David Thorne stocking up on sweet peppers from Rutiz Family Farms, haricot vert from Two Peas in a Pod and fresh red onions from Jaime Farms for his fall menu this week at Elysian. Tucked away not far from Downtown LA in the Elysian Valley or “Frogtown,” as some refer to it, this place might not be on everyone’s radar. It’s now open to the public for dinner on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as Sunday brunch and has become a favorite among locals.
Inspired by his finds, David describes Elysian’s fare as “semi-Mediterranean, California ‘market-driven.'” He shares with us a new seasonal addition to the Elysian dinner menu: Lamb with Market Vegetables and Dukkah. While there are a thousand and one variations of dukkah, the popular Egyptian spice mixture, the recipe you’ll find below is one that David custom blends for this special lamb dish. Give it a try and tell us what you think!
Lamb with Market Vegetables & Dukkah
Lamb Spice Rub Ingredients
Salt, to season
1 tsp baharat spice mixture
1 tsp aleppo pepper flakes
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp urfa biber
Dukkah Ingredients (may be left whole or crushed, as preferred)
½ cup pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
3 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
2 tsp coriander seed, toasted
1½ tsp cumin seed, toasted
1 tsp aleppo pepper flakes
Sherry vinegar, to taste
4 red lipstick peppers, halved, seeded and quartered
½ lb haricot vert, cleaned and trimmed
1 red onion, trimmed and sliced into ½” crescents
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
Salt, to taste
Lebneh, for serving
Prepare in advance: Season a rack of lamb with salt and David’s spice rub mixture of baharat, aleppo pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and urfa biber. Wrap lamb in saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Day of: Remove the rack of lamb from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for an hour prior to cooking.
For the dukkah: Begin by toasting the pistachios, coriander and cumin seeds separately. They can be used either whole or crushed, as preferred. Remove from heat and combine in a bowl. Add the aleppo pepper flakes and combine the mixture with olive oil and sherry vinegar. Set aside.
Process: Next, season the red onion slices with salt and sherry vinegar and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Sear the rack of lamb in a hot cast iron or carbon steel pan, before transferring to the oven. Remove the lamb from the oven upon desired state of doneness and tent loosely with foil, allowing to rest.
Heat remaining olive oil in another pan on high. Add red lipstick peppers and haricot vert, together with some salt, to taste. The vegetables will cook quickly. Allow the edges and tips to char without losing their bite. Remove from heat. Add the pickled onions to the pan and toss without heat.
Plate the finished vegetables and swipe a dash of the lebneh. Split the lamb chops and arrange on top of the lebneh and spoon the dukkah over the lamb and vegetables.