Rack of Lamb with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Meyer Lemon Crema
Chef-owner Holly Smith
Rack of lamb makes for a festive centerpiece to a spring dinner. Chef Holly Smith of Café Juanita infuses the dish with flavor-enhancing touches, including rosemary, thyme, garlic, anchovies and Meyer lemon. The ingredients and presentation add up to an impressive entree.
3 racks of lamb, frenched
2 oranges, zested with a vegetable peeler
4 large sprigs rosemary, lightly crushed
12 sprigs thyme, lightly crushed
½ tsp. chili flakes
20 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
Roasted Brussels sprouts
1½ lb. Brussels sprouts, divided
Unsalted butter, as needed
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Kosher salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
3 tbsp. finely chopped garlic
20 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
Piments d’Argile or Espelete (dried red peppers), to taste
Meyer lemon crema
20 Meyer lemon peels
8-10 Meyer lemon centers
Simple syrup, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
½ cup Ligurian olive oil
1. For lamb, trim excess fat from racks, leaving a thin fat cap. In bowl, combine orange zest, rosemary, thyme, chili flakes, garlic and oil, crushing herbs, zest and garlic lightly to release oils. Rub mixture on racks. Marinate in refrigerator for 24 hours, rotating every 6 hours to ensure best distribution of aromatics.
2. Preheat grill. Remove marinade from lamb; season racks generously with salt and lightly with black pepper.
3. Place racks on grill; roast fat-cap down to render, turning and continuing to grill to desired doneness. Be careful not to burn bones; let rest before serving.
4. For Brussels sprouts; clean and trim sprouts, cutting 1¼ pounds in half and peeling the remaining ¼ pound to leaves only.
5. In two large, heavy-bottomed saute pans, heat butter and oil together over medium heat. Add halved sprouts; toss and season lightly with salt and cayenne and arrange cut-side down. (Reserve leaves.)
6. Cook halved sprouts over medium-high heat until golden brown. Flip sprouts; continue to cook until tender. Add leaves; toss together with cooked sprouts and cook for 1 minute longer. 7. Pull sprouts to one side of pan; add additional 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil; divide garlic and anchovy between two pans. Stir to combine, letting anchovy and garlic melt together; continue to cook until toasted. Toss to combine. When ready to plate, heat sprouts and adjust seasoning as desired. Add Piments d’Argile or Espelette and finish with lemon juice.
8. For crema, in heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine Meyer lemon peels with lemon centers. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil; drain. Repeat process 3 to 4 times until lemons are tender and not bitter.
9. Drain lemon mixture; transfer to blender and process until smooth. Season with salt, add ing a small amount of simple syrup to balance. With blender running, drizzle in up to 1/2 cup oil; adjust seasoning as necessary. Hold at room temperature.
10. To serve, place a swoosh of Meyer lemon crema on plate; scatter Brussels sprouts alongside. Cut lamb racks into chops and plate two or three chops per guest. Garnish with orange slices, if desired.
Photo courtesy of the American Lamb Board