Lamb burger at Kennett, you’re quite the dish. How did you come to be so tasty?
Well, it starts with 8 ounces of lamb. Kennett Chef Brian Ricci gets a special secret blend from a company in New Jersey called LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, which deals with local farmers in the region. Buying from LaFrieda lets Ricci know exactly where his lamb is coming from. The lamb is grass-fed and free-range. Right now, LaFrieda’s comes from Colorado, but soon it’ll be sourced closer once we can figure out how to keep the price point from exploding.
And how would you recommend you be cooked?
Some people get me rare. Rare is cool. Because lamb is a leaner meat than beef, you don’t want to go beyond medium rare. If you do, I’m likely going to be drier than you’d want me. Although the lamb blend from LaFrieda helps with that.
Got it. What makes you so special is the lamb, of course, but also what’s on it. Tell us about your cucumber yogurt slaw.
K. Chef Ricci shreds red cabbage, and takes English cukes, splits them and slices them a centimeter thick. He slices some red onion as well, toasts whole cumin seeds in a pan and grinds them fine. Add to that some lemon zest, citrus and a seriously amazing yogurt from Lancaster County called Pequea Valley—this stuff is crazy decadent, the texture is a mix between heavy cream and sour cream—and you’re about done. Chef adds salt and pepper to taste, some capers for a bit of that brine-y flavor and added texture, and BOOM. Amazing slaw. It gets better over a couple days too as the flavors marry. There’s a Middle Eastern and Greek thing going on that people really love with me. The cool cuke slaw really is a nicely contrasting compliment to the lamb, which is seasoned with smoked paprika. I really am stunning.
Finally, your roll.
Ah, yes. It’s a Challah roll from locals Wild Flour Bakery. It’s like Brioche but not quite as egg-y. Come try me!
Anchovies, bone marrow and ground beef: It’s one of those why-didn’t-anyone-think-of-that-before combinations that, despite its initial impression of outlandishness, makes all the sense in the world.
PW's Taste of Philly 2014