The grapes on these kebabs caramelize on the grill, and that--along with the complex spices on the lamb--calls for a spicy, juicy wine. Serve the kebabs with hot couscous (we love the large Israeli variety). Prep and Cook Time: about 30 minutes, plus at least 1 hour to marinate. Notes: If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 20 to 30 minutes before threading with lamb.
Sunset MARCH 2006
1. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, 1 tablespoon parsley, salt, curry powder, paprika, cumin, thyme, coriander, chile flakes, and pepper. Add lamb and mix to coat thoroughly. Cover and chill at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
2. Thread cubes of lamb alternately with grapes onto 6 or 7 skewers (see notes).
3. Lay skewers over a solid bed of medium-hot coals or medium-high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds); close lid on gas grill. Cook, turning skewers as needed, until lamb is browned on all sides but still pink in the center (medium-rare; cut to test), 5 to 6 minutes, or just barely pink in the center (medium), 6 to 7 minutes.
4. Transfer skewers to a platter and sprinkle with remaining parsley.
Wine pairing: Juicy, spicy Zinfandel with good fruit (plums are a plus), herbs, and acid but restrained alcohol level and tannins. Best in our pairing: Ridge York Creek 2003 (Napa Valley; $28), Mayo Ricci Vineyard 2004 (Russian River Valley, CA; $30), and Seghesio 2004 (Sonoma County; $20).
Flavor bridges: A jammy Zinfandel sets off the grapes caramelized on the grill, and a spicy wine matches the exotic spices in the marinade for the lamb. Acid, again, counterbalances the grilled meat, while a reasonable alcohol level and tannins--along with good fruit--keep the spice-irritation factor in check.
Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.
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