I’m traveling this week, so I need something simple, but delicious for you to chew on. Tea and toast don’t seem to please the real eaters on this site. So I have come up with Hazelnut-Crusted Rack of Lamb.
My trip starts with a couple of days in Columbus, Ohio and continues east into Amish country. The highlight of the trip will be staying at Three Great Inns, including Inn at Honey Run, Inn at Cedar Falls and Murphin Ridge Inn. There will be plenty of emphasis on food too. Restaurants, Amish raw milk, an Amish bakery, and my personal favorite– Middle West Spirits are all a part of the itinerary. There will also be spa activities. What’s a trip without spa activities? Oh, it’s a press trip. I am going with other writers & bloggers, so you know there will also be a few shenanigans. But I’ll have more to report on that later.
Rack of Lamb
For today, I need to worry about feeding you before I go. That’s where the lamb comes in. It’s also where I share a great big secret. Restaurants make such a hullabaloo out of a rack of lamb. I’ve seen them parade one through the restaurant upon raised arms as if it were a returning war hero. Or served, precious style, by a hushed waiter carving each chop oh so seriously!
So here’s the secret, they do that because it makes you feel good about spending $42.50 on three lamb chops.
Because really good lamb doesn’t come from a waiter, no matter how stately. It comes from a really good butcher. Likewise, presenting lamb at its flavorful peak doesn’t require a chef. It requires salt and pepper– combined with high heat. This method will bring some really good eatin’ to the table.
But if you want to try to elevate perfection, well that’s simple too. After roasting a few minutes with salt and pepper, bring the lamb out of the oven and coat the meaty side with good mustard and rub in a crust of minced garlic, breadcrumbs, maybe even nuts, the zest of something citrusy and plenty of fresh parsley. Stick it back in the oven til the crust sets and the meat is cooked to pink perfection. Which for me is about 130 degrees F. GREG
Hazelnut-Crusted Rack of Lamb serves 2
- 2 racks of lamb
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 pinch each kosher salt & black pepper
- 2 clv garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 c parsley leaves, chopped
- 1 Meyer lemon, zest only
- 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 c hazelnuts, toasted and crushed
- 2 T dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Rub the lamb racks with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Position the racks in a roasting pan, meaty side up and place in the oven for 10 minutes. While the lamb is cooking, combine the parsley, garlic, Meyer lemon zest, breadcrumbs and hazelnuts in a bowl.
Remove the lamb racks from the oven and spread each rack on the meaty side with 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Divide the herb and nut mix equally between the racks and coat, gently pressing into the mustard. Return to the oven and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes or to desired doneness. Remove from oven and let rest about 10 minutes.
To carve the rack of lamb, stand it up on the meaty side with the bones curving away from you. Slide a sharp knife down, between the bones cutting gently through the meat. You should be able to see the bones all the way down along the back side of the rack. If you encounter a boney section, use shears to snip through. GREG
Greg Henry writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, and contributes the Friday column on entertaining for The Back Burner at Key Ingredient. He’s active in the food blogging community, and a popular speaker at IFBC, Food Buzz Festival and Camp Blogaway. He’s led cooking demonstrations in Panama & Costa Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, The Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or at Homefries Podcast Network.