Saturday, February 13, 2010

Rack of Lamb-What I always cook for Valentines's Day

What a boring title for a post! My blogging mentor, Laura, instructs me that I must revise my titles- although she likes them, they are not good search engine fodder. I'll see how it goes, I'm not sure if I can have boring post titles.

But what, dear June, does that have to do with Rack of Lamb? Nothing, of course! So here's the deal: I think it is ridiculous to try to secure a reservation for Valentine's day weeks in advance to an over-priced restaurant which will be too crowded to get good food and good service anyway. I think the smart thing to do is to splurge on a nice, expensive piece of meat that you wouldn't ordinarily buy and cook at home for your Valentine.

Arghhh! (Laura also told me I have to keep my paragraphs shorter. Three to four sentences. I'm not liking it. I totally have more to say in the last paragraph. I'll continue below)

So, what are my choices, June, for good expensive meat that I can cook easily and not ruin? Well, I like rack of lamb. It is easy to cook, doesn't take too long, and you don't have to do too much to it to make it good. Other choices are: thick veal chops, filet mignon, scallops, and the obvious lobster and crab. Any of these are going to set you back a few bucks, but think of how much you would spend to go eat these in a restaurant! And you can make it better at home anyway!

Here's my super easy, can't screw it up rack of lamb:

(Oh, and lamb can be cooked to medium and not be ruined, it is very forgiving in a way beef is not.)

Heat oven to 450 degrees

Combine in a bowl
1 c fresh breadcrumbs, tear a baguette into small pieces or pulse in a food processor
1 green onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
2 T chopped fresh parsley
2 T chopped fresh mint (I'll buy it even though it annoys me to buy it in the winter. It is an invasive weed. Everytime I see mint in my garden, I pull  it. And I still always have enough to make any recipe calling for any amount of mint.)
2 T toasted pine nuts
salt and pepper

Combine above ingredients in a bowl.

2 T Dijon mustard

Coat roasting pan with 1 T olive oil. Put roasting pan in the oven and heat for about 5 minutes. Season lamb with salt and pepper and place fat side down in roasting pan. Roast for 15 minutes. Take out of oven and spread 1 T Dijon on fat side of lamb. Press half bread crumb mixture onto lamb. Turn over and repeat on the other side. Roast for 15 more minutes until 130 degrees in center for rare.

You can roast potatoes alongside the lamb, even in the same pan. Cut them into small chunks and toss 'em in. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper. Baste them with some lamb fat when you take out the lamb to put on the breadcrumbs.

Serve with a mixed green salad with shaved parmesan, arugula, and a lemon vinaigrette. Maybe throw in some sauteed mushrooms with the salad. Roast some asparagus or baby artichokes to go with the lamb, too. Get a good bottle of red wine. Isn't this better and more fun than going out? Maybe your Valentine will be so appreciative, he'll do the dishes. Or something else.


TexasHeather said...

This sounds divine. Absolutely divine. I am so trying this next time we want a fancy meal. If I can find lamb. Surely I can???

How important are the pine nuts???

And - THANK YOU for the book donation. I cannot say adequately how much that means to me. Thank you. I'll enter you in the contest accordingly : )

The Mendon Foodie said...

Here's hoping you can get lamb sometime....

And you can leave the pine nuts out. Don't try substituting though, it sill just ruin everything.

And you're welcome.

Laura K said...

You are doing well, Daniel san.