Monday, August 3, 2009

Summertime Lamb Feast

I cooked up my first milk-fed rack of lamb today and it was so succulent and delicious that I nearly swooned! I created a recipe for it, since I felt it was something special and should be treated with careful attention. So, I decided to grill it with a subtle and sweet rosemary infused white nectarine glaze. Decadent, yes! Worth it, oh my yes!

Rack of Lamb with a Rosemary Infused Nectarine Glaze

One could use any stone fruit in this recipe (peaches, apricots, plums, etc.) and besides rosemary one could use lavender or even thyme.

1-2# rack of lamb
a drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2-3# of ripe nectarines (I used a white nectarine that is not only sweet and juicy but has a nice floral aroma to it)

Special Equipment:
Food mill
Meat Thermometer

Split nectarines in half and remove pits. If unable to remove pits, just cut off as much flesh as possible. Roughly chop the nectarines (including the skins) and cook the pulp, along with 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, in a sauce pan until thick and bubbly (30-45 min.). Let cool to room temperature. Remove the rosemary sprigs once sauce is cool. Strain the infused sauce through a food mill to remove the nectarine skins and to finely puree the sauce. This is the glaze that you will coat the rack of lamb with while grilling.

Place the rack of lamb on a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Thoroughly coat the rack with the nectarine glaze on all sides. Place the remaining sprigs of fresh rosemary under and on top of the rack. Fold the foil up and around the rack to create a packet. Place the packet on a prepared grill or in a 350°oven and roast to desired degree of doneness. Brush on more glaze near the end of the cooking time to give the rack one last burst of sweetness. (If grilling, you can remove the foil and place the rack directly on the grill near the end of cooking. This will caramelize the glaze on the meat and give you a crispy exterior.) When trying to decide if the meat is cooked to the desired doneness, it is a great idea to have a meat thermometer to help with this process. For medium rare to medium the meat should take 20-25 minutes to cook. It is very important to remember to remove the meat before it reaches the correct temperature and let it stand for about 5-10 minutes, loosely covered. The temperature will continue to rise 5-10° more while resting. Slice the rack into single rib portions. Serve the rib chops topped with remaining nectarine glaze and a sliced baguette with roasted garlic and a lovely goat brie cheese.

Helpful Hint on Checking for Internal Temperatures:
Make sure to insert thermometer in the thickest portion of the meat and do not touch the bone.
Medium rare: 145° Medium: 160° Well done: 170°

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