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Grilled lamb steaks with farro, olives, and almonds

(Erik jacobs for the boston globe)
May 14, 2008

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Serves 6

At the Salem restaurant, Sixty2 on Wharf, chef and co-owner Antonio (Tony) Bettencourt is making Mediterranean dishes such as char-grilled lamb steak with farro, green olives, and almonds. The former Tomasso Trattoria chef says, "This dish has almost a Spanish flair. It typifies my cooking in that it is rustic and chunky, with whole herbs, segments of Meyer lemons instead of lemon juice." Rather than chopping vegetables into miniscule pieces, he adds garnishes such as parsley leaves whole. "I like this style of cooking better than something that is finely diced and labored over." Bettencourt turns farro into a salad tossed with olives and almonds, then sets it under lamb steaks. The meat is cut from the tender end of the leg. The chef says it must be charred in order to lend the dish a bold flavor to contrast with the lemony lightness of the grain salad. Cook the lamb on a grill or under your broiler. "Even if you eat a lot of this dish," he says, "it won't tire your palate." - JENNIFER WOLCOTT

1 whole lamb top round (3 to 4 pounds)
1 clove garlic
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
5 tablespoons olive oil, or more to taste
Salt, to taste
2 cups farro
2 Meyer lemons, cut into segments
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1 cup almonds, toasted
1/2 bunch parsley, leaves
1. Heat a charcoal grill to high or turn on the broiler. Cut the lamb into 6 steaks.

2. Chop the garlic and rosemary together. Sprinkle the lamb steaks with 2 tablespoons of the oil, salt, and some of the rosemary mixture; set steaks aside.

3. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the farro and simmer gently for 20 to 30 minutes or until the grains are soft but still have some bite. Drain and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, combine the farro, lemon segments, onion, olives, toasted almonds, and parsley leaves. Add salt and the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.

5. Grill or broil the lamb steaks for 4 minutes on a side or until the steaks are medium rare. Cut them into slices and serve with the farro salad. Adapted from Sixty2 on Wharf