Inspired by Barbra Christo's unconventional Thanksgiving lamb and Merlot pairing, we asked our Far Niente Family of Wineries & Vineyards Senior Events Manager to drum up a holiday appetizer fit for a Thanksgiving Day feast.
Wow, did Barbra deliver. Whether you're staying true to classic turkey and stuffing or creating all-new Thanksgiving food and wine traditions, her roasted lamb loin crostini is a fragrant, festive addition to your holiday table. Especially when paired with the supple dark plum aromatics, velvet tannins and lush berry fruit of one of our favorite Napa Valley Merlots from Nickel & Nickel!
Roasted Lamb Loin with Smashed Mint & Peas on Crostini
Wine Pairing: Nickel & Nickel Suscol Ranch Merlot
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot, minced
1 teaspoon minced rosemary
1 teaspoon minced sage
1 teaspoon minced marjoram
1 teaspoon minced thyme
1 boneless lamb loins with tenderloins attached (about 1.5 pounds), thin layer of fat and rib apron left on, at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound frozen petite peas
1/8 cup water
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon crème fraiche
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
Optional: 2 teaspoons finely chopped mint or rosemary
1-day old French baguette
2 tablespoons butter,melted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4–1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
For the Lamb: In a small bowl, combine two tablespoons of olive oil with the garlic, shallot and herbs. Lay the loins on a work surface, fat side down, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. With butcher's twine, tie the meat at one-inch intervals. Spread the herb paste all over the lamb. Tying the lamb will help maintain its round shape and help with even cooking. Note: This lamb is best when it has marinated for a minimum of two hours or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 350°. In a 12-inch skillet (preferably cast-iron), heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Pat meat dry, salt and pepper each side, then place the lamb loins in skillet. Sear over moderate heat, turning, until browned all over, about 20 minutes total.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the loins for 10 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 125°. Transfer the loins to a carving board to rest for 10 minutes.
Cut off the strings. Carve the loins into thin slices to layer over your smashed peas and crostini.
For the Peas: Place peas, water and one tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Cook, stirring often, until peas are thawed and soft, and butter is melted, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and mash peas with a potato masher or wooden spoon until desired consistency is reached. It should look like oatmeal, with a little bit of texture.
Add lemon juice, crème fraiche and remaining butter. Mix until all is incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding optional herbs if preferred.
For the Crostini: Preheat oven to 375°. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut bread into ¼-inch thick slices. In a small bowl, stir together butter, olive oil and garlic powder. Brush both sides of your bread slices with butter mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, flipping halfway through the cooking process.
Assemble your hors d’oeuvres. Layer each crostini with a smear of smashed peas, a slice of lamb and a sprinkle of finely minced rosemary and mint. Top with a good flaky salt, then fill your glasses with Nickel & Nickel Suscol Ranch Merlot and enjoy! We love how the Napa Valley Merlot’s silky berry flavors and velvety tannins harmonize beautifully with the savory lamb and fragrant herbs.
However you choose to celebrate the holidays this year, we hope our Napa and Russian River Valley wines have the honor of finding a place on your table!
The countdown to Thanksgiving has officially begun. For some of us, it feels like the season for gathering and gratitude sprang up out of nowhere. Others have had their Thanksgiving menus set, seating charts mapped and holiday wines ordered since the first day of fall.
Whether you’re easing back into turkey duty or pulling together an extravagant feast, you’re invited to glean some Thanksgiving wine inspiration from some of our resident food and wine pros. From Bella Union Winemaker Brooke Price to our virtual experiences and senior events managers, they've shared some of their treasured holiday traditions and favorite Thanksgiving wine pairing tips.LEARN MORE
Planning Your Mother’s Day menu? Garnish with fresh chives and serve our recipe for herb-infused salmon rillettes as the first course for your brunch, lunch or dinner. Paired with a chilled glass of Far Niente Napa Valley Chardonnay, of course! This elegantly etched version will lift the flavors of fresh spring dishes and classic brunch fare and double as the centerpiece of your Mother’s Day table.LEARN MORE
When it comes to personalized wine gifting, our exclusive selection of engraved wines will add a meaningful touch to your holiday giving and gathering.
From classic Far Niente Chardonnay to a party-sized format of Nickel & Nickel State Ranch Cabernet, explore three of our most enchanting holiday jewels. Each of these Napa Valley favorites is elegantly etched in festive script, so the bottle can also be displayed long after the last glass has been savored.LEARN MORE