Necessity was the mother of the invention of the jaw-droppingly tasty lamb tacos - a surprise summer hit at the Reading Terminal Market's new Border Springs lamb stand. Chef Aaron Gottesman found himself with a surplus of neck meat stalled in the retail case, and braised off a batch - simmering the underappreciated cut for 12 hours in soy, and apple and orange juices, chopping it fine, and layering it on two griddled tortillas (one blue corn and one white) from San Roman, South Philadelphia's premier tortilleria. Topped with a mince of white onion and cilantro, a tangy honey-habanero sauce, and a spritz of lime, they created such a stir that Gottesman - who has cooked under chefs Kevin Sbraga and Jennifer Carroll - added them to his menu of lamb burgers, pulled lamb, and lamb gyros. He has tried to change things up, offering toppings of sesame coleslaw and roast-corn crema. But the original has developed a hard-core fan base. It doesn't hurt that he has a secret weapon - sweet, farm-fresh lamb pastured in the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains; lamb so flavorful, says Border Springs' shepherd-in-chief Craig Rogers, that he's betting it will bring a flock of new lamb converts into the fold.
- Rick Nichols
Lamb tacos, $7.50 for two, Border Springs Farm stand, Reading Terminal Market, 12th and Arch Streets; 215-627-2100 or www.borderspringsfarm.com.