Special Occasion Lamb
Somewhere along the way, lamb became a dish solely reserved for special holiday meals. I get it — it has a rich, often “gamey” flavor that both makes for an impressive presentation or contributes a kind of “wow” factor on those big occasions. That said, with its delicious texture, nutritional value and versatility, it’s the kind of steak alternative red meat fiends should reach for more often. In essence: I’m a firm advocate for lamb all-year round.
So, how do you get it right? Well, when cooking a rack (which serves two-three people), I start with trimming up the fat side — sometimes your butcher will leave a little more there than you’d want to serve. If there is anything resembling meat in those trimmings, I will season them with Weekend BBQ and cook them up as appetizers: I call it lamb bacon. I’m sure I’m not the first to have this brainwave, but it’s proved an unexpected delight at the dinner table. If i'm cooking on a grill I'll season (see below) and put it on a hot grill until it reaches 130 degrees and let it rest 5 minutes.
If I'm cooking indoors, I’ll grab my best cast iron, sear the meat on all sides, season (see below), and pop into a 375 degree oven until the internal temp reaches 130 degrees. This works well to achieve a rare center. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the lamb from the pan; then a 5 minute rest. Want to speed up the process? Cut the lamb into chops prior to seasoning and cooking.
A note on the seasoning: Fennel Friday goes great on lamb, as does adding two tablespoons of olive oil to make a paste. This will ensure a beautiful thick crust when applied. Use Everyday Herb instead if you want an herby-spicy thing going on instead.
There you have it: my love for lamb. Whether you’re pulling it out as a delicious one-off, or just for a regular ol’ weeknight dinner, lamb makes any meal feel special.