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by Diane Rossen Worthington
Roast Rack of Lamb Persillade Recipe
After I finished training at the Cordon Bleu in London, I had a beginner's repertoire of classic dishes that I could prepare with panache. Rack of Lamb Persillade was a favorite. Persillade is a mixture of bread crumbs, parsley and garlic or shallots moistened with butter or olive oil. Patted onto the lamb and quickly browned under the broiler, the crumbs create a crisp, golden brown crust over the meat. The parsley adds a fresh, bright taste. This is a wonderful special occasion or dinner party dish.
These days, lamb is available year-round with New Zealand and Australia supplying our markets for much of the year. Often, the imported lamb is sold frozen. American lamb is available during the spring months of April and May. You'll find it to be young, sweet and very tender.
And here are some lamb facts to know. Lamb must be sold before it is one year old or it cannot be called lamb. How do you select a tasty rack of lamb? Color is a good indicator of age; the lighter the color, the younger the meat. Baby lamb should be pale pink. Regular lamb is pinkish-red. The redder it is the older it is. Remember that most American sheep are grain-fed rather than free-range fed, so the flavor will be milder than New Zealand or Australian lamb.
Make sure to have the butcher "French" the bones as in the photo. "Frenching" is a technique in which meat is cut away from the top of a rib to expose part of the bone. Ask your butcher to "French" the chops if not already done. This is an eye-catching, beautiful presentation. Serve this with a baked potato dish such as a gratin or with baby roasted potatoes, along with some roasted asparagus or steamed green beans. Accompany this with a full-bodied Zinfandel, Rhone-style red or Merlot.
Roast Rack of Lamb Persillade
2 racks of lamb (8 chops or about 2 1/2 pounds each), trimmed of excess fat and meat scraped on each bone 1 1/2 inches up
1 cup coarse French bread crumbs
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chicken stock
Extra thyme and parsley leaves for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Place the racks of lamb in a roasting pan, bone side down and roast 18 to 25 minutes, depending on their size, for medium rare. Use an instant meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the lamb to check the inside temperature until it reads 130 F. Remove from the oven.
2. While the meat is roasting combine the breadcrumbs, shallots, parsley, salt, pepper, olive oil and chicken stock in a small bowl and mix well.
3. Preheat the broiler. Spread the breadcrumb mixture evenly on the cooked meat side of the racks. Slide the lamb under the broiler until it is lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning
4. Transfer the racks to a cutting board. Place the racks on a serving platter or carving platter and garnish them with additional herb leaves. Slice the chops by cutting between the bones. Serve 2 or 3 chops per person. Garnish with fresh herbs. Serve immediately.
To make fresh breadcrumbs: use day-old French bread. Cut off the crusts, cut into bite-sized pieces and process in the food processor or blender until you have coarse bread crumbs.
Lamb, Rack of Lamb, French Classic Main Course
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"Roast Rack of Lamb Persillade"
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