Holiday Fete: Rack of Lamb

Lamb for the Holiday.
Rack of Lamb for savory elegance.
Either piquant glazes or fresh seasonal herbs.
Be sure to have the lamb frenched for proper presentation.
Enjoy the Menu Shoppe finds.
Enjoy the springtime holidays.
Herbed Rack of Lamb with Parsley, Mint, and Walnut Sauté
3 1 1/4-pound racks of lamb, frenched
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
Parsley sauté
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
6 cups (packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
3/4 cup very coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts (about 2 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the lamb:
Place lamb racks on heavy large rimmed baking sheet. Brush lamb with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons coarse salt and pepper. Mix all herbs in small bowl; press firmly over meat side of lamb to adhere. Let stand 2 hours at room temperature. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat remaining 4 tablespoons oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add lamb, meat-and-herb side down, and cook until brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer racks to baking sheet, meat-and-herb side up. Roast lamb until meat thermometer inserted into center registers 125°F for medium-rare, about 13 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes.
For the sauté:
Heat olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Add parsley and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add mint, 1/2 cup water, and lemon peel and cook until parsley is tender, about 3 minutes. Mix in walnuts, walnut oil, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut lamb between bones into individual chops. Divide parsley sauté among 6 plates. Top with lamb chops and serve.
Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops with Manischewitz Glaze
Two 1 1/2-pound lamb shoulder chops, cut 1 1/2 inches thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups Manischewitz Concord wine
2 tablespoons grape jelly, preferably Concord grape
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup mint leaves, patted dry
1/2 cup celery leaves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 whole matzo cracker, crushed into small shards
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper and grill over moderate heat, turning a few times, until nicely charred outside and medium within, 15 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, boil the wine over high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, 15 minutes. Whisk in the grape jelly and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 inch of oil until shimmering. Add the mint and fry over high heat until crisp, 15 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer it to paper towels to drain. Add the celery leaves and fry until crisp, 30 seconds. Drain on paper towels. Generously brush the hot lamb chops with the glaze. Sprinkle the chops with the coriander and celery seeds. Coat the fat edge of the chops with the matzo. Scatter the fried mint and celery leaves and the lemon zest over the lamb. Each chop serves two people.
The glaze can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using.
Suggested pairing: Medium-bodied Barbera’s bright red-berry fruit and spice are a nice complement to lamb.
Herb-Roasted Rack of Lamb with Smoky Cabernet Sauce
Contributed by Hess Winery
Two 1 1/2-pound racks of lamb, chine bone removed, bones frenched
1 bottle Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup ruby port
2 cups rich veal stock
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
9 medium garlic cloves, 3 whole and 6 minced
1 plum tomato, chopped
10 black peppercorns
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp around the edges. Add the onion, carrot, celery and whole garlic cloves and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaf, wine and port and cook over moderate heat until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Strain the sauce into a medium sauce-pan and cook over moderate heat until reduced to 1 cup, 10 minutes. Add the stock and reduce to 1/2 cup, about 20 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan and refrigerate for 4 hours.  Meanwhile, set the lamb, fat side up, in a medium roasting pan. Mix the minced garlic with the herbes de Provence and the oil and rub over the lamb. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours. Preheat the oven to 425°. Generously season the lamb with salt and pepper and roast for 40 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 140° for medium rare. Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, skim the fat from the sauce. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer over moderate heat. Whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and season with salt and pepper. Carve the racks into double chops and transfer to plates. Drizzle the sauce  and serve with the Roquefort Bread Puddings.
Roquefort Bread Puddings
1/2 pound sourdough bread, crusts removed, bread cut into 1-inch cubes
4 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
3 medium garlic cloves, mashed to a paste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, plus more for trim
Preheat the oven to 325°. Generously butter four 4-ounce ramekins. Set the ramekins in a small roasting pan. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the garlic paste and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until just golden. Stir in the cream and Roquefort and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. In a large bowl, gradually whisk the Roquefort cream into the eggs. Whisk in the 1/4 cup of scallions and the salt and pepper. Stir in the bread cubes and let stand until the cream is absorbed, about
30 minutes. Spoon the bread pudding mixture into the ramekins. Add enough water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins and bake the bread puddings in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, or until they are set and golden. Transfer the ramekins to a wire rack and let cool slightly. Run a knife around the bread puddings, then turn them out onto plates. Garnish with the remaining scallions and serve.
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