Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Special! Mint-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Honey Vinaigrette

This mint-crusted rack of lamb was inspired by a lamb steak recipe we did a few years ago, which featured a minted honey vinaigrette. I loved how the sweet, herbaceous dressing worked with the subtly gamey meat, and that memory filled me with confidence as I planned out this video.

Lamb is obviously a popular Easter menu option, and while I have no problem with you slathering your meat with green mint jelly…really, I don’t…my mom’s fridge always had a jar of the stuff…I do hope you’ll consider this slightly higher-end application.

I know some will be extra curious about the blanching of the mint, but I’m afraid my less-than-scientific answer may leave you unsatisfied. I learned a long time ago that if you give your green herbs a few-second blanch before using, the heat locks in the color, and they stay nice and green in whatever you’re preparing.

Of course you can Google for more information, or better yet, you can simply make the recipe in blissful ignorance. Speaking of bliss, one of my favorite things about rack of lamb is just how easy they are to cook. As long as you own a digital thermometer, you’re going to have to try really hard not to get pink, juicy meat. They’re not cheap, but there’s almost no waste, and the meat is mild and very tender.

By the way, yes, those are sweet potato tots! And no, I can’t show you how to make those at home. The recession has hit the U.S. tater tot industry very hard, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to put any more of those fine folks out of work. Anyway, if you’re looking for an easy and impressive option for Easter dinner, I hope you give this a try. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 Portions (*note: I only did one rack for 2 portions, so amounts in video may look off):

2 racks of lamb, trimmed, about 1.25 pounds each
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp vegetable oil for searing meat

For the crumbs:
1 cup mint leaves, blanched, squeezed dry
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste
1 or 2 tbsp finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

For the mustard mixture:
1/4 cup regular or herb Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey

For the honey vinaigrette:
2 tsp honey
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

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