Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mustard and Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb (Page 498)

RECIPE #1107

  • Date: Sunday, February 14, 2010 -- 8pm
  • Location: Palo Alto, CA
  • Kitchen: Emilee and Brian's Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Emilee, Brian, and Matty
  • Recipe Rating: A-

I made this lamb as part of our Valentine's Day dinner with Emilee and Brian. I started by seasoning two racks of lamb with salt and pepper, then browning them on the stovetop in olive oil (the recipe called for three racks but I cut it back a bit since there were only four of us). I transferred them to a baking pan, and spread the fatty side of each rack with some Dijon mustard. Then I put a topping of fresh bread crumbs, parsley, mint, rosemary, salt, and pepper over the mustard, pressing so that the crumbs adhered. I roasted the lamb to 130 degrees, then let it rest for 20 minutes. I cut the racks into chops and served! This lamb was tasty. The flavors were classic and well-balanced and the meat was cooked nicely. It was nice to have the substance of the bread crumb coating. Without it I might have wished the dish had a sauce, but with the herbed bread crumbs the dish felt complete. This was a super easy, tasty lamb dish that I would make again.

The recipe is here.

My mother would tell you that I started cooking when I was 9 or so. It's all hazy in my memory, but she claims that I used to invite my teachers over for dinner and cook big meals for them. There are pictures of me in fourth grade with my best friend and a plate of homemade egg rolls that we made for dinner with our teacher, so I suppose this must be true! Apparently my love for deep-frying started early... What I do remember is that I used to make a lot of pies. And cookies. And later in life, cakes. My love of cooking stemmed from a love for baking. Long before I even knew how to piece a chicken I could make you a chocolate genoise soaked with vanilla syrup, filled with pastry cream and strawberries, and covered in ganache. I had my priorities! Before I started this crazy project I fueled much of my cooking energy towards making cakes (there is a small collection of pictures here). When there was a special occasion, I was there, cake in hand! Since I started the project however, I have had less time and energy for coming up with cake recipes and trying new decorating techniques. In fact the only elaborate cake I have done in the last year was our wedding cake.

When I was in graduate school it was a very special occasion every time someone defended their thesis, and I made quite a few defense cakes. I hadn't made one in a while, but today I got the chance to do one again. My friend Brian is defending his thesis in the morning (PhD in Experimental Physics from Stanford!), and tomorrow night there will be a party to celebrate! I happily volunteered to make a cake. It was fun to be in the kitchen this morning, cooking something NOT from The Book, and trying out some new decorating techniques I have long wanted to learn. The cake is nothing too fancy but I am happy with how it looks. And I have confidence it will be tasty because it's Red Velvet -- Yum! People keep asking me what I will do when this project is over. I know one thing I will do: make more cakes!

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