This finger food is very popular in Abruzzo. It is traditionally grilled over a fornacella, a shallow trough of charcoal just wide enough to cook 4 inches of skewered meat. (We use a hibachi or grill pan.) The garlic is my addition.
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 branch of fresh rosemary
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Hot red pepper flakes (optional)
Soak 16 bamboo skewers (8 inches long, including the handle) in water to cover for 30 minutes. Bruise the garlic and rosemary branch with the flat of a knife on a cutting board and place in a small bowl with the olive oil and a few grinds of black pepper. Set the oil aside while you prepare the lamb.
Tightly thread cubes of lamb onto the skewers to make uniform-looking kebabs, each bearing 4 inches of meat cubes. (Leave only 1 inch of the tip of the skewer exposed.) Using the rosemary branch, brush the lamb with some of the olive oil to coat lightly.
Sear the lamb skewers over a medium-hot grill (alternatively, use a grill pan). Cook about 2 minutes, or until the lamb is browned and a little crusty. Turn and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat and place on a serving plate.
Brush the lamb skewers with more of the olive oil, then season with salt and red pepper flakes, if using. Serve hot with a glass of red wine, such as Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, and country-style bread drizzled with olive oil.
Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer — Recipe adapted from food52.com and italymagazine.com