This article in the IHT really does reveal the difference between a newspaper for a global readership and cut and paste of one for people who live in the United States.
The tasty twig, a barbecue tradition
LAMB on rosemary skewers has to be one of the oldest recipes in the world. In ancient times, the meat could just as easily have been goat, or something wilder, and fish was no doubt also a candidate. The idea of cutting branches of rosemary and using them as skewers must certainly have occurred to humans soon after they figured out how to build fires.
Rosemary grows wild as a large, hardy shrub throughout the Mediterranean and places with similar climates, like California, Chile, South Africa and parts of Australia. Figs grow in these same climates by the zillions. And it didn't take Escoffier to figure this one out: figs are good — no, fabulous — when grilled.
The combination with another ancient food, olive oil, is amazing.
I can't improve on what our ancestors did, but here are some points to consider.
Use lamb shoulder when possible; it's fattier and grills better than chunks of leg. Grill the lamb and the figs — nice and ripe, left whole — separately, since the lamb will take a little longer to cook than the figs. The heat can be about the same for both, moderately hot.
If you live in Southern California, you already know where to find rosemary; elsewhere, you may have to look around a bit, or perhaps settle for a package from the supermarket. You want branches with woody stalks, if possible. But if the stalks are too flimsy to poke through the lamb, run a pilot hole through with a skewer. You might throw together a little basting sauce of lemon, garlic and a little more rosemary. I do, but I know that the skewers are just fine without it, and have been for thousands of years.
I don't live in Southern California, but I do have resemary growing outside my study door this morning. The article just makes me feel alienated as an International Herald Tribune reader.