by Cat, September 2011 (photo, right, from Food Network.com (6))
Includes: 1. Mustard & Herb-Crusted Rack(s) of Lamb; 2. Emeril’s Fresh Fig Chutney
See also: 1. Roasted Rack(s) of Lamb, with Rosemary & Thyme Marinade; 2. From other sites: How to French a Rack of Lamb (5)
When you are trying to eat strictly pasture-raised meats, and especially when you eat out or are traveling (so don’t know the source of the meat), your best choices are lamb and bison, because these smart animals refuse to eat commercial grain feed.
My local grocery bought some lambs from a Canadian source again this fall, and had a selection of full and half-racks in the meat case this week. I bought one half-rack (4 ribs) to make for Sunday dinner. I don’t think I’ve ever made a rack of lamb before so I’m getting my inspiration from the internet.
Mustard & Herb-Crusted Rack(s) of Lamb
I found several recipes for preparing a rack this way; all are very similar: Epicurious.com (1), Emeril Lagasse on FoodNetwork.com (2), and All Recipes.com (3). All first sear the seasoned rack in a hot skillet, then spread on mustard, followed by a coating of breadcrumb and garlic-herb mixture. Emeril adds a bit of Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumb mix. Finally, the rack is roasted in a hot oven (400° – 450° F) 10 to 20 minutes, depending upon oven temperature and desired degree of doneness.
Emeril’s recipe serves with Fig Chutney (see recipe below).
Ingredients & Equipment:
For each rack:
- 1 Frenched rack of lamb (8 ribs, about 1 ½ lb)
- Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 – 2 Tbsp prepared Dijon mustard
Crumb mix (for each rack):
- 6 Tbsp – ½ cup fresh, finely ground bread crumbs (not seasoned)
- 2 tsp – 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tsp – 1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
- ½ tsp – 1 tsp finely chopped fresh mint (optional)
- 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ – 1 tsp unrefined sea salt
- ¼ – 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 – 2 Tbsp olive oil
- small bowl
- cast iron skillet
- baking sheet or backing pan (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 – 450°F.
- Season rack with salt and pepper.
- Chop/mince herbs & garlic; grind bread crumbs and toss together with the herbs, garlic, salt & pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, toss again, then set aside.
- Heat oil in skillet. Add racks (one at a time) and sear on both sides, about 2 – 3 minutes per side. Remove from heat.
- Remove racks from skillet and rub fatty side (not bone side) with the Dijon mustard. Then press crumb mixture into the mustard. Place on baking sheet or in baking pan, bone-side down. NOTE: if your cast iron skillet is oven-proof, roast the lamb in the skillet.
- Roast in preheated oven 10 – 15 minutes, depending on degree of doneness & internal temperature (10 minutes to 125°F for rare; 12 – 13 minutes to 135°F for medium-rare, or 14- 15 minutes for medium).
- Remove from oven and transfer rack(s) to platter. Allow to rest 5 minutes before separating the ribs and serving.
Testing 6/11/12: Made half-recipe, without fig chutney. I made too much of the crumb mixture for 4 ribs (used ¼ cup crumbs, 2 tsp each chopped fresh parsley and rosemary, 1/2 tsp chopped mint, 1 large clove garlic, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper, 1 Tbsp oil). Next time, use only 3 Tbsp crumbs, half that amount of herbs for half-recipe. Also only need ½ Tbsp dijon. I updated full recipe in red with proposed changes. Took 12 minutes to reach 125°F, but my oven has a hard time reaching 400°F. Served with steamed potato, seared green beens and broccolini, steamed beet, and a salad of greens with cucumber, green pepper, green onions, tomato, feta, and a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Result: Crust was mostly browned and very aromatic. Good flavor, tho meat was a little too rare.
Emeril’s Fresh Fig Chutney
(Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
NOTE: this is not a lacto-fermented chutney. I’d like to modify this for lacto-fermentation, following general method for Tropical Fruit Chutney from Nourishing Traditions, and using the ingredient combinations in the recipe below (minus the red wine vinegar, which would interfere with the lacto-ferment).
I’ve adapted this version from Emeril Lagasse’s recipe (2). He recommends Fig Chutney as an accompaniment to the Mustard-Crusted Lamb Rack.
Fresh figs are required for this recipe. So when they are available, buy up a bunch and preserve them, preferably by lacto-fermentation, but canning a fig chutney as in this recipe is another option.
From Figs 101 (4): California figs have two seasons: Early, smaller crop (grown on previous years’ sprouts) is available in late June and extends to late summer; the second, larger crop (grown on current years’ sprouts) begins in late summer and extends into October.
Dried figs are not necessarily good substitutes for fresh. However, you could reconstitute them by soaking in port wine (see Chowhound.chow.com (5))
Makes about 2 ½ pints.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 2 ½ cups red wine vinegar
- 8 oz Rapadura sugar
- 1 onion, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped fresh ginger
- ½ Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- zest of ¼ fresh lemon
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1 – 2 tsp Unrefined sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- 1.25 lb slightly underripe fresh figs, rinsed, stems removed and halved.
- Combine all ingredients except figs in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer until mixture is thickened and reduced by ⅔, forming a thick syrup.
- Add figs and cook gently until they are very soft and beginning to fall apart; about 30 minutes. Most of the liquid they have given off will have evaporated.
- Transfer to sterilized canning jar or other glass container. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Can be made up to 3 weeks in advance and stored in refrigerator in an airtight container. OR ladle hot chutney into hot sterilized canning jars and process in hot-water bath according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Epicurious.com (epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Mustard-and-Herb-Crusted-Rack-of-Lamb-108493)
- Emeril Lagasse on FoodNetwork.com (foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/mustard-crusted-rack-of-lamb-recipe/index.html)
- All Recipes.com (allrecipes.com/Recipe/roasted-rack-of-lamb/detail.aspx)
- Figs 101 (thecitycook.com/cooking/advice/faq/000027)
- Chowhound.chow.com (chowhound.chow.com/topics/387207)
- Food Network.com photo (foodnetwork.com/food/ck_dm_cooking_techniques/article/0,1904,FOOD_18997_1740202,00.html)
- Food Network.com: How to French a Rack of Lamb (foodnetwork.com/food/ck_dm_cooking_techniques/article/0,1904,FOOD_18997_1740202,00.html)