RACK OF LAMB
I use to be intimidated by the photographs in cookbooks and magazines of lamb prepared this way. It looked like it was difficult—a lot of work. Well, it is so not! It takes around 30 minutes to make this most impressive dish. It’s perfectly seasoned, and the cook time is quick. The meat slices beautifully, is tender and moist, and has a wonderful savory flavor. You can serve the lamb with a variety of your favorites—garden greens, mashed or smashed potatoes, creamy or grilled polenta, or grilled vegetables.
1 cup white wine vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
½ cup fresh mint leaves
2 racks of lamb, 1 ½ to 1 ¾ pounds (7 to 8 chops)
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Lots of cracked pepper
6 small mint sprigs, for garnish
Make the syrup ahead of time, or even the day before. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the vinegar and sugar to a simmer, cooking until the mixture has the consistency of syrup, 8 to 10 minutes. Continue to cook, reducing by half. Remove the pan from the heat, and let cool for 10 minutes. Add the mint and mix. Cover with plastic wrap and cool for about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the pantry, and serve at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Place the ribs bone side down in a roasting pan. Place 2 tablespoons of the Dijon mustard on each rack of lamb, and rub all over the top with the back of a spoon. Over each rack, sprinkle ½ teaspoon of the garlic powder and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce. Divide the thyme over the two racks. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over each rack, and crack plenty of pepper over both.
Bake the lamb for 18 to 25 minutes.
Turn on the broiler. Place the lamb in the broiler 4 inches from the heat source, and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the top is golden and bubbly. Keep and eye out so it doesn’t burn. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board. Cover lightly with foil, and let rest for 5 to 6 minutes.
Slice the racks into chops by cutting between the bones. Place on a platter, or serve 2 to 3 chops per plate, with the mint syrup on the side. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
WHITE BEAN PUREE
2 cups fresh white beans, or 2 (15-ounce) cans of white beans, drained and rinsed
¾ teaspoon kosher salt plus more for sprinkling
1 scallion, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves pulled off fresh 5 basil leaves
Soak the fresh beans over night, or for a quick soak bring the beans to a boil, covering the beans by 4 inches. Turn off the heat and let sit for an hour. Drain and rinse under cool water. Pour the beans back into a stockpot.
Fill a large stockpot with cool water, covering the beans by 4 inches. Do not add salt to the water as this will make the beans tough. Bring to boil. Turn the heat down to a gentle boil, cover, and cook until the beans are tender, usually 90 minutes for soaked beans (2 hours of more for beans that haven’t been soaked). Taste test to see if the beans are tender. If they’re not yet tender, cook until they are, checking every 15 minutes. Be careful to not overcook, or the beans will fall apart. If the beans have soaked up so much water while cooking that they’re no longer covered by at least 4 inches of water, add more water.
Place the beans, ¾ teaspoon salt (1/2 teaspoon salt if using canned beans), pepper to taste, scallion, and lemon juice in a food processor. Start to slowly add the oil, and process until smooth. Adjust the seasoning adding more salt if necessary.
To serve the lamb, slice in between the ribs to separate the chops. Place 1/4 cup of the bean puree on the middle of a dinner plate and spread into a circle. Place three lamb chops thick side down in the puree to help them stand together.