I don’t think of myself as a particularly predictable person, but when I am out to dinner with family or friends and there is Rack of Lamb on the menu, it is a safe assumption, that is what I will order – actually you can bet on it, and I believe some people have done so! There are all kinds of ways to serve rack of lamb from glazed with a Cabernet sauce, covered with a Dijon mustard mask, to heavily encrusted in a shallot and mushroom tapenade. But I am a purist when is comes to lamb and I want to taste the full-bodied, distinctive flavor of lamb and not have it covered with sauces and stuff that masks the gamey flavor – knowing full well lamb is often considered an acquired taste. That said, my recipe is a modification from Rack of Lamb Persille by Narsai David. Narsai David was a leading Bay Area restaurateur (owner of Narsai’s and Narsai’s Market, both of which closed in the mid-1980’s.) I adapted his recipe with some slight changes – hope you like it as much as I do.
1/2 rack of lamb (4 chops)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbl lemon juice
2 small cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 shallot, finely minced
2 tsp parsley flakes
Zest of one small lemon
Fresh salt and pepper
8 grape tomatoes
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
1. Using a damp paper towel wipe down the rack of lamb, removing blood and any extra skin or fat that is falling off the rack. Make a slit separating the four chops, but do not cut all the way through.
2. Chop garlic, parsley, shallot, rosemary. Place herbs in small bowl, add oregano, lemon zest, salt and pepper, vermouth and olive oil. Mix well.
3. Place rack of lamb in roasting pan and brush 1/2 of the marinade mixture between each chop and on top of the rack.
4. Place in 450 degree oven for 15 minutes till a slight brown crust forms on top of the rack. Remove from oven and repeat Step 2 again with remaining marinade. Turn down the oven to 350 degrees and return rack to cook for another 10 minutes, or until the lamb reaches 180 degrees inside (for medium.)
5. Cut the grape tomatoes in half and toss onto the grill pan – add some olive oil and grill them quickly. While the lamb is cooking, prepare and fry the potato cakes.
6. When rack of lamb is done, remove from oven and let rest for about 10 minutes so the juices stay within the rack of lamb.
6. Cut down the four chops. Add to plate and serve with potato cakes and grilled grape tomatoes.
2 cups shredded potatoes
2 Tbl heavy cream
1 Tbl chopped parsley
1 shallot – finely minced
Salt and Pepper
1. Line a bowl with paper towels and add the shredded potatoes and then cover with two more paper towels. Press to eliminate some of the water out of the potatoes – you want them dry. In medium bowl place the dry potatoes and add the heavy cream and all other ingredients – mix well – you want to be able to form them into cakes and hold their shape.
2. Heat grill pan to medium high heat – lightly pour olive oil and coat the grill pan. Place a food ring in the center of the pan and add spoonfuls of the potato into the ring until 3/4 full – lightly tamp down with a spoon. Remove ring and continue to make potato cakes on the grill. There should be a total of 6 to 8 cakes.
3. Fry them for about 3 minutes till they are golden brown. Flip and fry the other side. When done remove to a paper towel and set aside till you plate the dish.