Yes, lamb can be found all year long, but spring remains the time-honored season to eat it.
Easter and Passover celebrations bring large numbers of Chicagoans out in force, seeking the best meat around. And top-notch butchers such as Publican Quality Meats and the Butcher & Larder have the goods: hormone- and antibiotic-free lamb from Catalpa Grove Farm in Dwight, Illinois.
So Catholic, Jewish, whatever—do like Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat, Little Goat Diner) and get a jump on a great tradition.
Stephanie Izard’s Spring Rack of Lamb
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 30 to 40 minutes
|2||Racks of lamb (1 to 2 lb. each)|
|1 Tbsp.||No. 2 spice rub (available at Little Goat Diner or theflavorbystephanieizard.com)|
|Extra virgin olive oil|
|2 Tbsp.||Unsalted butter|
Spring Onion Goddess Dressing
|1 Tbsp.||Dijon mustard|
|5 Tbsp.||Lemon juice|
|1 cup||Grapeseed oil|
|¾ cup||Sour cream|
|¾ cup||Spring onion bulbs, thinly sliced|
|¾ cup||Fresh mint, torn|
|Salt and pepper|
|1 cup||Unsalted roasted cashews, roughly chopped|
|1 cup||Spring onion greens, thinly sliced|
|¼ cup||Fresh mint, torn|
|2 tsp.||Lemon zest|
|1 Tbsp.||Lemon juice|
|¼ cup||Extra virgin olive oil|
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Sprinkle the lamb with No. 2 spice rub and salt.
3. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large oven-safe sauté pan. When the oil is very hot, add the lamb, fat side down. Sear for 5 minutes, or until the fat cap is caramelized and crispy. Flip the lamb over and sear for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. With the lamb fat side up, place a tablespoon of butter on each rack. For medium-rare doneness, roast between 20 and 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow the lamb to rest for 15 minutes. Slice between the bones and serve.
5. While the lamb is roasting and resting, prepare the dressing and the cashew crunch.
6. In a blender, combine egg yolks, mustard, and lemon juice. Slowly add the oil. Then add the sour cream, spring onion, and mint. The sauce will get thick and may need to be stirred halfway through. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve under the lamb as a sauce.
7. Toss the cashew crunch ingredients together and sprinkle over the top of the lamb.
TIP: Shop around before you buy, because while rack of lamb varies dramatically in price—from $16.99 a pound at Mariano’s to $36 a pound at Eataly—the quality doesn’t.
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