As much as I love my vegetables and fruits, when it comes down to it, I am an all-out omnivore, and some of my favorite ways to prepare meats are by roasting them. Roasting is not hard, but it requires time. If you are coming home after a long day of work and want food on the table in 10 minutes or less, roasting probably is not going to be your cooking method of choice. However, if you have even a little time, roasting meat is incredibly stress free and painless – only minor babysitting required, and you can add pretty much whatever flavors you feel like at the moment.
This past weekend, I celebrated a special occasion, my birthday. Ok, I’m not sure how special that is, but it was a great excuse to purchase a rack d’agneau. However, in doing so, I committed an eco-sin. The lamb was from New Zealand, halfway around the world. I really do feel guilty about the fact that the meat I cooked traveled over 10,000 miles to get to my plate, but I did not feel so guilty as to deter me from buying it. Why? One, when I was in New Zealand I tasted some of the best lamb I have ever eaten in my life and two, it was the only lamb available in the store – not that those are good excuses I am sure. It did cost me a dear sum, but well, it was my birthday.
This was my first time roasting lamb, and it was extremely simple to do – I didn’t want to have to freak out that my own birthday dinner wasn’t going to turn out right. It pretty much went like this – bring meat up to room temp, pan-sear, rub pistachio coating onto lamb, pop in oven, relax. Take out of oven, eat. Relax some more There was so much flavor emanating from this dish that each bite was savoured individually, not wanting to accept the fact that at some point, the meal would be over and the flavors would have to end. One of my favorite things about food is that it is an always ephemeral work of art. Just as a mandala is ritualistically destroyed to be created anew, so it is with food – each meal is consumed, the flavors lasting for an instant in time, and then they are gone, only to leave us waiting until the next delectable experience. Sometimes flavors work to bring comfort, sometimes they work to bring art. There are other parts of this dish too, they are coming next. When each flavor comes together as a color in a painting, contrasting and blending, causing the taste buds to find new dimensions of taste sensations, that is when art can happen with food. Now I’m certainly not going to go around calling myself the next Ferran Adrià or anything, but sometimes there are those rare instances where a dish made in such a humble setting (I think 2 burners and a glorified toaster oven qualify my kitchen as “humble”) can have a transformative quality to it. And then again, it may just be that my husband and I have a taste for flavorful and yet simply created food and are easily pleased. Speaking of him, I think he enjoyed my birthday present to myself more than I did
Adapted from Lauren of Our Kitchen
Ingredients (4 servings):
For the Lamb:
1 rack of lamb, about 1 lb., at room temp
1 cup. crushed pistachios in a food processor
1/2 cup. fig or apricot mustard (or other sweet mustard of your choice)
1 tbs. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
For the Minted Peas:
1 lb. frozen peas
1 bunch fresh mint
3 cloves garlic
2 tbs. butter
2 tbs. oil
1/2 cup water
1. Mix pistachios, mustard, salt, pepper, cardamom and coriander together for the rub. Preheat oven to 200C.
2. Pan sear the outside of the rack of lamb for about 30 s on each side, this will help lock in the juices.
3. Liberally cover pistachio & mustard rub all over the top and sides of the lamb rack. Place in a pan, and roast in the oven for about 25 minutes or so, depending on your doneness preference and size of your rack. If you want, you can cover the exposed ribs with some foil to keep them from burning. I did not, and they were fine. My toaster oven did not get to temperature as quickly as I had hoped, and I ended up having to cook mine closer to 30 min.
4. Meanwhile, heat up the peas in a pot of water until just boiling and then drain. Also, heat up a skillet with butter and olive oil and fry 3 cloves of garlic. Once peas are done, add garlic and peas and a tbs or so of your hot oil to a food processor along with fresh mint, and pulse. Gradually add water until you get a more malleable consistency.
5. Take out of the oven and let rest for about 10 min., then slice in between each rib to serve two chops per serving on top of minted peas.
Also submitted to – Gluten Free Wednesdays