January 29, 2011
But, alas, I can't conjure spring into existence NOW by wishing for it. So instead, I'm trying to embrace winter hibernation. I'm reminding myself that now is the time to bake and roast. Now is the time to fill the oven. It warms the house, scents it with comforting fragrances, and wraps us up in coziness. And if it transports us mentally to a sunnier, romantic foreign place--say, Provence--well, that's just a lovely little bonus.
Provençal Rack of Lamb
(find it on Epicurious here)
Gourmet, October 2008
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium tomatoes, halved
1 (1-pound) frenched rack of lamb (4 to 8 chops, depending on size), cut in half
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced (1/3 cup)
2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons water
Preheat your oven to 400°F with the upper rack in the middle.
Mince the garlic, then in a small bowl make a paste of it with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the herbs and 1 tablespoon oil to the garlic paste. Stir together well.
In a small, oiled baking dish, place the tomatoes cut sides up. Spoon 1/3 of the garlic and herb mixture over them. Roast until they become tender and a bit wrinkled (about 30-40 minutes).
While your tomatoes roast, turn your attention to the lamb. Pat it dry, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (i.e. don't use nonstick), heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the lamb to the skillet and brown the meat on all sides. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and discard oil from skillet. Wipe out any overly browned bits.
Heat the last tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and potatoes, and cook until their edges are browned, stirring occasionally. Add the water and half of the remaining garlic mixture and remove from heat.
Rub the last of the garlic mixture on the fat side of the lamb racks. Arrange the meat over the potatoes in the skillet. Place the skillet in the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 130°F for medium-rare, 20 to 25 minutes (make sure the tip of the thermometer is not touching bone--this will give a falsely high reading).
Let the meat rest, loosely covered, 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve with tomatoes. I also highly suggest serving it with roasted cauliflower--see the next recipe. (Tip: roast the cauliflower before the lamb, then return it to the oven to warm during the last few minutes of the lamb's cooking).
Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Vinaigrette
(find it on Epicurious here)
Gourmet, September 2009
1 (2 1/2-to 3-pounds) head cauliflower
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small garlic clove
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 450°F with the top rack in lower third.
Cut cauliflower lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Put in a large 4-sided sheet pan and toss with 2 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast, turning once or twice, until golden and just tender, about 25 minutes.
While the cauliflower roasts, mince the garlic, then place it in a small bowl. Make a paste of it with a pinch of salt, then whisk in the lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, olives, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Serve cauliflower drizzled with Kalamata vinaigrette.