Now, I’m not saying you would never find chicken nuggets in our freezer when I was growing up, but it certainly wasn’t the norm. I was lucky enough to have people around me who were (and still are) enthusiastic about authentic food. My brothers and I experienced a pretty wide variety of cuisine throughout the years, thanks to family traditions and my father’s twenty year career in the Navy. For example, a leg of lamb accompanied by mint jelly would make an appearance on our dinner table at least a couple of times a year. This was an old English recipe that had been passed down from my grandmother to my mother many moons ago.
Whenever it was served, my father, like clockwork, would recount a story from his time on the USS Trepang, a nuclear-powered submarine commissioned right here in Groton, CT. This was the boat that took him up through the Arctic Circle and to the North Pole. He would tell us that on a submarine of 100 plus men, it was only himself and his commanding officer who shared an appreciation for this underrated red meat. Luckily for the ship’s cook (and the CO), my dad was on board (pun intended) to show him how to prepare it. He even made sure to bring a jar of “the green stuff” back on the boat with him in between dives. I am certain these meals gave him the comfort of home during those long months spent at sea and away from our family. I keep a little glass tube of sea water he saved from the top of the world and I still think it’s pretty darn cool!
Admittedly, I did not enjoy this particular dish much throughout the years. Today though, I have a new outlook and a new recipe. Sorry mom and dad, but I prefer the delicate flavor a rack of lamb offers and how, unlike other cuts, I can cook it in under 30 minutes.
This tends to be one of the busiest times of the year and cooking large meals can seem daunting. My aim with this recipe is to make life just a little easier and perhaps, a little more interesting. If you’ve got company coming this holiday season and you want to impress without spending hours in the kitchen, this is for you. Alternately, it’s a beautiful date night meal for when you want to mix things up a bit (hint, hint gentlemen)…! I’ve coupled it with our 2010 Cabernet Franc – Merlot Bordeaux style blend. The two are a natural pairing, and one you won’t soon forget.
Cheers to family tradition,
French Rack of Lamb with an Herbed Crust (Serves 2)
1 – 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs
2 tbsp olive oil based mayonnaise
1-2 tsp of Dijon mustard (adjust to your liking)
Cracked black pepper
1 rack of lamb (approximately 1.5 lb) – patted dry
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Start by chopping a combination of your favorite herbs. I like mint, rosemary, oregano, and thyme. A couple sprigs of each will do the trick.
In a small dish, mix the herbs with the mayonnaise and mustard.
*Suggestion – try adding minced garlic for an added kick.
Season both sides of the rack with salt and pepper, then layer the herb mixture over the meaty side using as much or as little as you like. Place the rack sauce side up onto a roasting pan, then into your oven. Roast for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 400 degrees. Roast for another 7-8 minutes for a beautiful pink center. Remove from the oven and let rest for an additional 10 minutes before slicing and serving 4 lamb chops per person.
Because lamb is a rich red meat, I like to round out the meal by serving it with seasonal vegetables and some crusty bread. Stir any leftover herbs into olive oil for dipping your bread.
Check out our Thanksgiving hours, and be sure to stop in before December 1 to purchase some of our 2010 Cabernet Franc – Merlot Bordeaux style blend! Click here for another delicious food and wine pairing with our 2012 ‘Gold Arc’ Estate Chardonnay.
“What do you mean he don’t eat no meat? Oh, that’s ok. I make lamb.” - Aunt Voula, ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’