Ash-Seared, Cocoa-Rubbed Lamb Loin

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This Ash-Seared, Cocoa-Rubbed Lamb Loin is from the cookbook Around the Fire: Recipes for Inspired Grilling and Seasonal Feasting from Ox Restaurant.

Ash-Seared, Cocoa-Rubbed Lamb Loin

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I used a thermometer to monitor the interior temperature during the searing process. I removed the meat from the heat when the loin reached an interior temperature of 115 degrees F. The plastic-wrapped loin continued to cook while resting. Ultimately an interior temperature of 120 degrees F. was achieved. The searing process took me several minutes longer than this recipe indicates based, I suppose, on the temperature of my ashes.

Ash-Seared, Cocoa-Rubbed Lamb Loin

Ingredients

  • 1 (12-oz) boneless lamb loin (you may tie the loin into a tight log for more even cooking if you like)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa (plus 1 teaspoon more as garnish)
  • ¼ cup Orange-Chile Oil (see recipe below in my recipe index)
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 oranges
  • flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
  • 1 large celery rib (sliced thinly on a diagonal)
  • 6 chives (cut into 2-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves

Directions

Coat the lamb loin with Kosher salt, pepper, and cocoa powder; rubbing with your fingers to help the spices adhere. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

Prepare a grill to high heat. Meanwhile, to make the Cumin-Chile Oil, in a small bowl, whisk the Orange-Chile Oil with the soy sauce and vinegar. In a small pan over medium heat, toast the cumin seeds until fragrant and starting to pop, about 1 minute. Remove and add to the chile-soy mixture.

Using a sharp knife, cut away the orange rinds and reserve the fruit.

While the grill is at its hottest, grill the lamb and the oranges: Unwrap the lamb loin and place it on the hottest part of the grill (if it’s a gas grill), or – if using coals – set a metal cooling rack directly atop the coals and place the lamb loin on top. Cook for about 1 minute, until seared, then flip and cook the other side for 1 minute. (If your lamb loin is more round than oblong, give it a one-quarter turn every 30 seconds so that it cooks evenly.) Remove the loin from the heat (it will still be rare to medium-rare) and wrap it tightly in fresh plastic wrap to allow it to keep cooking while you grill the oranges. At this point, you can store the cooked, wrapped lamb loin up to 3 days.

To finish the dish, place the oranges on the hottest part of the grill and cook, rotating until charred – and almost burnt – around the side 4-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest until cool enough to handle; slice into 1½-inch thick rounds.

To serve, divide the orange slices among 4 plates. Unwrap the lamb loin and slice it into ¼-inch thick medallions; divide among plates. Garnish each slice with a light sprinkling of sea salt. Garnish with celery, chives, and cilantro leaves. Drizzle the toasted cumin-chile oil over the meat and vegetables, stirring between each spoonful to properly distribute all of its ingredients. Sprinkle a small amount of cocoa across each plate and serve.