|Remove the ‘eye’ from the rack of lamb.|
|Slice through and separate the rib bones.|
|Combine all the ingredients for the Romesco sauce and roast for 40 minutes.|
|Return half the puréed sauce to the roasting pan and toss in rib bones. Cover and cook for 1 hour.|
Catalonian Fire Roasted Lamb Rack
This is a truly exciting dish and, if you have an afternoon to devote to preparing a memorable dinner, this is the perfect dish. It combines two contrasting flavors, the first derived from the marinade and the second the Romanesco sauce. The presentation is dramatic and people can’t help but be impressed with the complex tastes they’ll discover.
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 8 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 dry ancho chile, roasted, crushed
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced into rounds
- 1 small handful of cilantro leaves
- Juice of 2-3 limes
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 3 racks of lamb, chine bone removed
- Salt and pepper
- 1 recipe of romesco sauce
- 3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 dry ancho chilies, roasted, crushed
- 1 fresh Serrano or jalepeño chile, cored, seeded, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 10 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 whole tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- Large pinch of saffron threads
- 1 tablespoon of cumin, toasted, crushed
- 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds, toasted, crushed
- A few basil and parsley leaves
- 3/4 cup of sliced almonds, toasted
- Juice of 1 or 2 limes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Prepare the marinade. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet and add the shallots, garlic and ancho chile. Cook until barely golden. Remove from heat and add scallions, cilantro leaves, lime juice and honey.
- Remove the whole ‘eye’ from the rack, reserving the rib bones, and place in a non-reactive roasting pan with the marinade. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 hours. Slice the rib bones into 7 or 8 evenly, dividing meat at the bones.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Prepare the Romesco sauce: In a shallow roasting pan, combine olive oil, ancho and serano chilies, red bell pepper, shallots, garlic, tomato, tomato sauce, saffron, cumin, coriander, basil, and parsley. Roast for 40 minutes or until the tomatoes start to brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a food processor. Add the toasted almonds and lime juice. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Return half of the sauce to the roasting pan and toss in the rib bones. Loosely cover with foil. Cook for 1 hour or until meat is cooked. Remove the foil cover and cook for another 10 minutes or until meat is brown.
- Preheat the oven to 500° F.
- Scrape the marinade off the ‘eye’. Season with salt and pepper. Sear over high heat, in a large skillet, until all sides are well browned. Transfer to a shallow roasting pan and coat with the remaining sauce. Cook for about 10 minutes until medium rare. Allow to rest before slicing into 6 equal rounds.
Place three overlapping rounds from the eye on each serving plate and arrange 3 rib bones next to the them. Serve immediately with sautéed baby vegetables.
Strong flavors call for big wines. Look for big clarets (the wines from Bordeaux), the Bordeaux-style wines now coming from California, or some of the wonderful Australian reds that represent real bargains to accompany this lamb. I especially enjoy Niebaum-Coppola’s Rubicon and Metisse’s Melka from the Napa Valley.