In spring, a food-lover’s fancy turns to lamb. Rack of lamb is a favorite, and so very easy to get it right. It is expensive but wonderful. You may need to order it from your butcher in advance. The rack is the eight lamb chops left together for cooking purposes and then cut into chops for serving. Cooking them as a rack on the bone improves the flavor, makes them easier to handle, produces more rare or medium rare meat and makes a much better presentation.
Rack of Lamb (serves 6-8 people)
2 racks of spring lamb, frenched by your butcher.
salt, pepper, olive oil
fresh rosemary (optional)
Remove lamb racks from refrigerator 1-2 hours before cooking. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Rub the racks with olive oil, salt and pepper. Score the fat, by making sharp shallow cuts through the fat, spaced about an inch apart. Sprinkle the rack all over with salt and pepper. Set your roasting pan (if you are using pyrex you will need to do this in a separate pan) over medium heat, and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sear the lamb, one rack at a time, for 1 minute per side or until nicely browned.
Place the two racks standing up with the meat on the bottom and the bones crossing each other. Roast at375°F for 8 minutes, then lower the heat to 350°F. Cook for 8-12 minutes longer (until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat shows 125°F for rare or 135°F for medium rare). Remove from oven, place the racks on a carving board loosely cover with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes while making the sauce.
Return the pan to the stove and deglaze with a glass of red wine. Allow to reduce adding some stock or water and if necessary a bit of thickener (like arrowroot or cornstarch mixed with a tablespoon of the liquid).
Cut lamb chops away from the rack by slicing between the bones. Serve 2-3 chops per person.
Zucchini Au Gratin
3 lbs of zucchini
3 eggs (beaten)
8 oz Crème Fraiche (Vermont brand, I buy at Adam’s – or mix 4oz of heavy cream with 4oz of sour cream).
5 oz of grated Swiss Cheese
Butter, Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg
Rinse and dry zucchini (Peel in stripes, leaving some of the green skin in place). Cut into large cubes. Cook in salted boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Drain and squeeze in a colander to remove all excess water.
Place zucchini in a buttered oven dish and mash with a fork. In a separate bowl mix beaten eggs, cream and ¾ of the cheese and some salt, pepper and nutmeg.. Add mixture to zucchini and mix with a fork. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the top. Place in preheated oven (350F) until it is golden brown. (30- 40 minutes)
Slow Roasted Tomatoes
Cherry, grape or small Plum tomatoes.
Whole cloves of garlic (One for every 4 tomatoes)
Preheat oven to 225F. Halve each tomato..(crosswise for round ones, lengthwise for long ones). Line a baking sheet with parchment and place the tomatoes cut side up on top with cloves of garlic interspersed amongst the tomatoes. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with thyme. Bake in the oven for 2 hrs and 45 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
If you have only one oven, make the tomatoes in the morning and keep at room temperature (Tent with aluminum foil). Bake the zucchini au gratin in the afternoon (when cooled wrap with aluminum foil) and keep at room temperature, While lamb is resting and being carved put the gratin and the tomatoes both back in the hot oven (350F) and reheat before serving.