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Jicama, Kirby and Carrot Salad with Charred Lamb

Because Jean-Georges Vongerichten is constantly opening new restaurants, it's easy to forget his break-out place: Vong, in Manhattan. This smoky lamb salad dates from Vong's 1992 opening. With crunchy carrots, cucumbers and bean sprouts and a spiced vinegar dressing, it is one of the dishes that launched the Asian-fusion trend in America.

slideshow More Amazing Lamb Recipes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 red or green Thai chiles, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for rubbing
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds well-trimmed boneless leg of lamb, cut into 3 equal pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, finely julienned
  • 2 Kirby cucumbers (1/4 pound each), very thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 10 ounces peeled jicama, cut into 1/3-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup small mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 stalks of fresh lemongrass, tender inner bulbs only, thinly sliced crosswise (2 tablespoons)


  1. Light a grill. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar with the sugar, garlic and chiles and bring to a boil. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool. Stir in the fish sauce and 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Rub the lamb all over with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over a medium-hot fire, turning, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until nicely charred and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 135° for medium-rare meat. Transfer the lamb to a carving board to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the carrots with the cucumbers, jicama, bean sprouts, mint, cilantro and lemongrass. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Transfer the salad to a platter. Thinly slice the lamb. Arrange overlapping slices on the salad and serve.

Suggested Pairing

People often think of pairing Cabernet with lamb, but Shiraz also makes a great match, especially the spicy ones typically produced in Australia's Margaret River region.

Contributed By Photo © James Baigrie Published September 2005

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