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This is one of the great culinary secrets of "Lost Italian Recipes" below I have provided a gift of one of the recipes in my latest Cook Books going into print soon. My father first introduced "Capozell" as he used to call it from a little Italian restaurant in N.J. before he himself entered the restaurant business. I used to love to go to this place because at 11 yrs old I loved eating the Linguine with white clam sauce they made, that took me years to later master as a Chef myself. To look at the lamb's head on a platter seems more reminiscent of a scene from a Godfather movie. However, after my father put a little of the face meat on a fork and told my to try it... squinting I reluctantly opened my mouth... as my mouth closed... I immediately tasted garlic, rock salt, oregano and slight hint of black pepper. The meat was the single most tender piece of meat I had ever tasted! Being so enthused and much less reluctant, I was willing to be more adventurous when he offered a fork of the brain. Again, the garlic, butter, olive oil, rock salt, oregano and black pepper flavored meat melted in my mouth. After that, it was nothing short of a rugby scrum trying to get at the rest of it. Subsequent visits to this restaurant I ordered my own. A key secret to this recipe is that the head must come fresh from the butcher....never frozen...NEVER! Serve with a side of pasta or polenta topped with butter. AMAZING!!! Never judge a book by its cover, or lamb's head by its looks.
- 1 lamb, head skinned and cleaned (not frozen! Fresh from butcher whole, or cut in half and tied back together with twine while parboil)
- 1⁄2 cup butter (melted or preferably room temperature)
- 1⁄3 cup olive oil
- 3 -4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons dried oregano or 1 1⁄2 teaspoons dried oregano, rubbed in your hands until powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon morton's coarse kosher salt, Rock or 1⁄2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1⁄4 cup red wine (I prefer white like a chardonnay because it reduces nicely) or 1⁄4 cup white wine (I prefer white like a chardonnay because it reduces nicely)
- Remove eyes and tongue of lamb's head.
- Parboil lamb’s head and tongue fully submerged in pot of boiling salted water covering head for 10 minutes.
- Leave tongue to simmer tongue for 20-30 minutes longer in salted water; remove, run under cold water, remove the outer tongue skin or can be sliced into small slivers after cooked.
- Return tongue to lamb's mouth. Make a marinade by combining Butter (½ the amount), Olive oil (½ the amount), red wine, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper ingredients; pour over head while warm and marinate for 1 hour, turning occasionally.
- Bake in a 325F oven for 1 1/2 hours, basting and turning over every 20-30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and turn oven broiler on high.
- Take the remaining butter (melted) and olive oil with a minced clove of garlic, salt and splash of wine mixed together.
- Pour half of this mixture onto the head put into the broiler about 6 inches from flame for about 5-10 minutes until minced garlic becomes lightly browned, turn over put the remaining mixture. Again until lightly browned.
- Remove from broiler. Let rest 5 minutes and serve.
- Place on a bed of parsley, risotto or spaghetti of your choice. Decorate with flower petals.
- I prefer spaghetti with pesto sauce in fork rolls* and steamed Asparagus. *(spaghetti rolled up in little rolls with a fork and placed on the dish) Excellent with fresh lightly toasted garlic bread.
- Goes well with any homemade Italian wine or chardonnay, pinot grigio or if you must have your red wine, pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon. Chianti would be too astringent for this dish.