Monday, August 8, 2011

Rack of Lamb with Herbed Garlic Potato Salad, Marinated Cucumber, Preserved Lemon, and Wildflower Salad

On occasion I may have to opportunity to cook for someone, and in this case for a person who has never had lamb before. Ive never felt the need to experiment too much with the ways that I have done rack of lamb because they just simply work so well. The hardest part about this dish was trying to balance all the flavours out. There is a bit of acidity from the preserved lemons, marinated cucumbers, and salad dressing which offsets the rich creaminess of the potato salad.  Likewise the nasturtium is peppery and kind of bitter which is why I added wildflower honey into the dressing. Overall this dish has some great summery fresh flavours, and was nice and light.

Rack of Lamb

2 - Racks of Lamb
1 - Bunch of Parsley
¾ - L of Breadcrumbs
Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper

It is important when cooking any cut of meat to butcher it properly, meat processing plants often forgo doing the fine butchery because it cost too much money in time and waste. Chances are your rack will already be frenched, but be covered with excess fat, and silver skin. The best approach in to cut a small line into the fat about half of an inch from the beginning of where the meat is. The idea is to keep that top bit of fat near the ribs. After you strip away all that extra fat we don’t want, you will see a silvery lining covering the muscles of the meat -this too must go. There is also sometimes an little muscle near the bottom that conceals some more silver skin underneath it, I like to remove this as well. By doing with we are going to ensure a very tender piece of meat. Keep this in the fridge until we are ready to use it.

Wash your parsley and pick off all the leaves from the stem, add this to a food processor followed by the bread crumbs. It make take more or less of either the parsley or bread crumbs to get the colour you want, which is a nice herby green. Blitz this in the processor until uniform in colour and size (might take a little longer then you think, don’t worry its almost impossible to mess this up.

Take the lamb out of the fridge and get a pan very hot with a dash of olive oil and butter. Liberally season every part of the lamb. Sear until golden brown on all sides, and let cool.

When the lamb is cool brush it with the Dijon mustard (not out of the jar, cross contamination!). Put some of your herbed bread crumbs on a plate, along with a little salt and pepper for seasoning. Delicately place your Dijon covered racks on the bread crumb mix until covered with mix.

Bake uncovered at 350 for about 15-20 minutes depending on preference (I like mine rare), when done let rest for a few minutes then serve.

Herbed Potato Salad


Depending on preference you can use any waxy potato, fingerlings work very well, but in this case I just happened to have plain old white potatoes. Feel free also to use whatever herbs you feel like.

4-5 medium White Potatoes
1 cup Aioli
1 Shallot
3 Sage leaves
4-5 French sorrel leaves
Sprig of Thyme
Dijon mustard

Gently boil your potatoes until perfectly cooked, undercooked is no good, and overcooked will cause the skins to tear away. Allow these to cool for thirty or so minutes or until room temperature. Allowing them to sit in the fridge for awhile will also firm up the starch a bit. Dice these up. Chiffonade your herbs, and give your shallot a fine brunoise. Add a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and as much aioli as needed until it reaches a good consistency. Season. Can be eaten right away or allowed to marinate in the fridge.

Aioli

1 Egg yolk
1 cup Olive oil
5 cloves of Roasted garlic
1 clove of Fresh garlic
1 Lemon
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Add egg yolk, juice of one lemon, mustard and garlic to a food processor. Start blitzing. Slowly drop by drop add oil. Season. For troubleshooting refer to the Rosemary Sage Aioli post.

Marinated Cucumber

½ Cucumber
1 Shallot
White wine vinegar

Cut the cucumber into about two inch pieces cross wise and each of those pieces in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Gently push the pieces flat and cut in half. Cut these pieces into strips lengthwise. They should be about 2 inches long by a quarter inch wide. Finely dice the shallot and add to cucumber. Just cover with white wine, and allow to marinate in the fridge.

Preserved Lemon


1 piece of Preserved Lemon

Refer to the recipe for this ingredient here. If you don’t have this laying around the skin of ¼ of a lemon will do. Using a sharp knife carefully scrape away all the pith. Laying the knife flat as well as the lemon slice out all the pith (white stuff). Be Careful. Cut into fine strips.

Wildflower Salad


Feel free to use dandelion leaves, arugula, whatever you are comfortable with will substitute. I didn’t really size any of this out, but it was mostly a small handful of things I had growing in the garden.

Nasturtium leaves (the young ones are best)
Nasturtium flower petals
Lemon Balm
Wood Sorrel
1 tbsp Olive oil
¼ tbsp White wine vinegar
Drizzle of Wildflower honey

Wash your greens, leaves the flower petals out. Most of this stuff is delicate, so you must be to. Just before serving combine everything together, and gently toss by hand.

Parlsey Oil

½ bunch Parsley
½ litre Grapeseed oil

Heat up a pan of boiling water with a touch of salt. Quickly blanch the parsley leaves in the boiling water, and then add to a bowl of ice or cold water to stop cooking. Squeeze the herbs together to ring out all the water, or use a salad spinner. Roughly chop the parsley and add to a blender with the oil. Grapeseed oil is a very neutral tasting oil so its very good for infused oil, however feel free to use what you have. Blitz until the mixture turns a dark green colour. Strain this through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter.

2 comments:

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