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Catalonian Fire-Roasted Lamb Rack with Romesco Sauce
When it comes to the main ingredient, that spectacular main course should feature something you simply don't grill every day.
When I really want to impress my guests, I'll grill whole racks of lamb, which I then carve into individual chops just before serving. Now, that's something sure to open people's eyes with happy surprise!
Virtually every step of my recipe for Catalonian Fire-Roasted Lamb Rack With Romesco Sauce aims to deliver big flavor. First, you'll marinate the lamb for several hours in a spicy mixture of chiles, shallots, garlic and fresh lime juice. Meanwhile, you'll also make the classic Basque sauce, which is based on roasted chiles, tomatoes, garlic, shallots and spices, pureed and thickened with roasted almonds. The result is so delicious and satisfying, you'll be tempted to eat it by the spoonful as if it were a soup. But, needless to say, it makes a wonderful companion to the tender, succulent lamb meat.
Cooking that meat to perfection calls for the grilling method known as indirect-heat cooking. All you have to do is build a fire in half of your grill's fire bed -- which, depending on the kind of grill you have, may require you to turn on just half of the gas elements; or pile, set fire to, and eventually spread the white-hot charcoals on just one side. To give the lamb a flavorful, beautifully browned surface, first sear it directly over the heat; then, move it to the portion of the cooking grid away from the heat source, and cover the grill, so that the meat can continue to cook to the desired degree of doneness without its surface burning.
With the meat perfectly, flavorfully cooked in this way, the final step in making this dish spectacular comes through presentation. After resting to let their hot juices settle back into the meat, the lamb racks are cut into individual chops that are then placed on top of pools of the thick, red Romesco sauce -- which makes a beautiful complement to the rosy-pink meat and its deep brown exterior. As you and your guests cut into the meat, every bite with be bathed in the flavorful mixture.
Your mouth may be watering by now as you read this. Mine certainly is as I write it! But just imagine how good it will taste when you turn this spectacular Catalonian Fire-Roasted Lamb grilled recipe into your own backyard reality.
Catalonian Fire-Roasted Lamb Rack With Romesco Sauce
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Yield: Serves 6
Catalonian Fire-Roasted Lamb Rack With Romesco Sauce Recipe Ingredients
For the Catalonian Lamb
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 shallots, thinly sliced
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 dried ancho chile, crushed
2 organic scallions, thinly sliced crosswise
1 small handful cilantro leaves
2 or 3 limes, juiced
1 tablespoon honey
3 whole racks of lamb
For the Romesco Sauce
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 dried ancho chiles, crushed
1 serrano or jalapeno chile, halved, stemmed, deveined and seeded
1 organic red bell pepper, halved, stemmed, deveined, seeded and cut into small dice
3 shallots, thinly sliced
10 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
4 medium-sized organic tomatoes
1 cup tomato juice
Large pinch saffron threads
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds, crushed
3 or 4 fresh basil leaves
1 small handful fresh Italian parsley leaves
3/4 cup toasted almonds
1 lime, halved
Freshly ground black pepper
Catalonian Fire-Roasted Lamb Rack With Romesco Sauce Recipe Directions
First, prepare the marinade:
In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and ancho chile and saute, stirring, until barely golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the scallions, cilantro, lime juice and honey. Transfer to a container large enough to hold the lamb in a single layer with the marinade. Leave to cool to room temperature; then, add the lamb racks, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate to marinate for at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
For the Romesco Sauce:
In a shallow roasting pan combine the olive oil, ancho chiles, serrano or jalapeno chile, bell pepper, shallots, garlic, tomato, tomato juice, saffron, cumin, coriander, basil and parsley. Stir well to coat the solids. Roast in the oven until the tomatoes start to brown, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and, working in batches if necessary, process along with the almonds in a food processor until pureed. Transfer to a nonreactive bowl, stir in the lime juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Prepare a fire for indirect-heat cooking in an outdoor grill, with a hot fire in only half of the grill bed.
When the fire is hot, remove the lamb racks from the marinade and pat them dry with paper towels. Season well all over with salt and pepper.
Place the racks over the hot part of the fire and sear them brown them all over, about 2 minutes per side, turning them with long-handled tongs. Then, using the tongs, move the racks to the cooler side of the grill. Close the grill lid, or cover the racks with a large domed pot lid or an inverted roasting pan, and continue cooking until done to your liking, about 10 minutes per side for medium-rare, 140 to 150 degrees F on an instant-read grilling thermometer. Remove from the grill to a cutting board, cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil, and leave to rest for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, transfer the Romesco Sauce to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it has heated through and thickened.
To serve, use a sharp, sturdy knife to carve the racks between the bones into individual chops. Spoon some of the sauce onto individual serving plates and arrange the chops on top, drizzling a little more sauce over the meat.
Lamb Recipe, Catalonian Lamb Recipe, Spanish Catalonian Cuisine
Catalonian Fire-Roasted Lamb with Romesco Sauce
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