After “slumming it” in the wild for a few days, I craved some fine dining food. Rack of lamb is something I love, but have not had in a while. Lamb has that distinct flavor that goes well in many different dishes, its definitely not everyone’s red meat of choice, but I’m a big fan. For a weekday dinner, I made a rack of lamb that was first seared on the stove top, then roasted in the oven. I paired it with some sautéed yellow squash that had a refreshing sweetness which complimented the strong favors of the lamb.
I went to Central Market and instructed the butcher to give me a nice half rack of lamb. A whole rack had 8 ribs, and thankfully, CM was able to accommodate my request.
First I cleaned up the lamb as much as possible. The fat and gristle are used to make the lamb sauce.
The sauce is red wine based, composed of carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and tomatoes.
The lamb trimmings are cooked together with some oil and the finely diced celery, onions, and carrots over moderate high heat.
Once the vegetables are browned, after about 10 minutes, add some chopped garlic and the chopped tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
Once the tomato starts breaking down, add the wine and bring to a boil.
Add beef stock along with parsley and thyme stems to the pan and simmer over low heat until the liquid has reduced to about 3/4 cup.
Strain the liquid into a bowl, skim off the top layer of fat, and season with salt and pepper.
Season the lamb rack with salt and pepper, and rub all over with a mixture of minced parsley, thyme, and chopped garlic.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bring a well oiled heavy oven proof skillet to medium high heat, sear the lamb until browned all over.
This will probably take 3 or 4 minutes per side, a total of 12 to 15 minutes in all.
Transfer the pan into the preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the Gremolata pesto. First toast the pine nuts until lightly browned.
Place the nuts, along with parsley leaves, lemon zest, and garlic, pulse to combine.
With the machine running, gradually pour in the oil and process until well incorporated.
Scrape the pesto into a small bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Once the lamb is done cooking in the oven, transfer the meat to a plate and cover loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. Let rest for 15 minutes, else the meat juices will have run off quickly during carving, and your meat will be dry.
While the lamb is resting, I prepared the squash. The squash are washed and cut into 2 inch spears, they are put in a large pan with some melted butter over medium heat, along with some chopped scallions and chopped shallots.
Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender and browned in spots. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to a serving plate.
I served the lamb with the sauce and the Gremolata pesto, and paired the dish with a syrah, which is great with gamey red meat.