I LOVE LAMB! Fortunately for me, so does my husband. So, when I presented him with three different menus I conjured up for him to choose from for his birthday, he picked the lamb. Since lamb is generally not lean, it needs a little bit of freshness and citrus to cut through the richness of the fatty meat. Salsa verde would be the perfect condiment for the lamb. It is the bit of citrusy freshness that is needed to balance the dish. This version of salsa verde has anchovies in it. Trust me, you will not taste anything fishy. My husband does not like the assertive flavor of anchovies, yet he loved the salsa, as he could not taste it. The anchovies lend a depth to this condiment, that would otherwise be absent.
SEARED RACK OF LAMB WITH SALSA VERDE
2 racks of Lamb – Frenched
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
4 sprigs fresh Rosemary
3 tablespoons organic Butter
1/2 cup Sherry wine (optional)
You may choose to trim the fat off the racks of lamb, but I highly advise against it. Seared and caramelized lamb fat, to a Lebanese like me, is the most delicious seared animal fat! Plus, it keeps your meat moist, as you cook it in the oven. That being said, take the lamb out of the refrigerator, and allowed it to sit on a clean counter, until it is close to room temperature. Lather each rack of lamb with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, liberally sprinkle the salt and pepper on both the racks, and let them sit to the side for a couple of minutes, while you get the sauté pan ready.
In a large sauté pan on medium high heat, pour in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and add 2 tablespoons of butter. When the pan is very hot, place one or both racks of lamb in the pan fat side down. Do not over crowd the pan, and do not mess with the lamb for at least 5 minutes. You want to get a very nice sear and brown color on the that lamb. Add the peeled shallots and rosemary sprigs.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn the lamb over to sear the other side for another 5 minutes. Turn the lamb back over to fat side up, and place it in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes, until you get a thermometer reading of 125 degrees Fahrenheit. (While the lamb is in the oven, make the salsa verde – recipe below.) Take the lamb out of the oven, remove it from the pan, cover both racks with foil, and allow the lamb to rest for at least 5 minutes, and until an internal temperature of about 135 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit is reached. This will give you a perfect medium rare lamb. If you like your lamb cooked longer, leave the racks in the oven longer. Just make sure to allow the lamb to rest, when taken out of the oven.
Return the sauté pan back to the stove over medium high heat, after removing most or all the fat, then add the sherry to all the delicious brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Allow the sherry to reduce to a syrupy consistency, while scraping everything off the bottom with a wooden spoon. Turn the heat off, and strain the sauce you just made, if you want a silky smooth sauce. If you want a rustic sauce, skip this step. Add it back to the pan, and finish it off with a tablespoon of butter, gently stirring it into the sauce.
2 cloves Garlic
4 Anchovy fillets – packed in oil
1 tablespoon Capers – packed in vinegar
3 tablespoons Italian Parsley – finely chopped
3 tablespoon Sweet Basil – finely chopped
2 tablespoon Mint – finely chopped
1 Lemon – zested & juiced
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
Using a mortar and pestle, mash or grind the garlic with the salt into a very fine paste. Add the anchovies, and grind to fine paste as well. Finally, add the drained capers to the mortar and pestle, and mash the entire mixture together. Place the paste in a bowl. Zest and juice a lemon, and place both in the bowl. Finely chop all the herbs, and place them in the bowl as well. Add the extra virgin olive oil and black pepper to the salsa. Stir it very well, and allow it to sit for 20 to 30 minutes. You can also make this salsa a day before, and leave it in the refrigerator until the next day. If you choose to do so, cover the salsa with a little more olive oil to keep the greens from wilting and losing their vibrant green color.
Now that the lamb has rested, with a very sharp knife, cut the lamb into one chop or double chops. In a serving plate, place the lamb chops, either alone or with a side or sides. You may use the sherry sauce made earlier for a more deep and rich flavor, or use the salsa verde for a more vibrant and refreshing flavor. You can always use both! My daughter preferred the sherry sauce, while my husband preferred the salsa verde. I used both. So, plate however you would like, and ENJOY this most delicious of meats!