After you check out Wolfgang Puck’s column in LENS today, try this recipe.
Catalonian Fire-Roasted Lamb Rack With Romesco Sauce
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 jalapeño 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
For the Catalonian lamb: First, prepare the marinade. In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and ancho chile and sauté, 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 two hours.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
For the romesco sauce: In a shallow roasting pan combine the olive oil, ancho chiles, serrano or jalapeño 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 puréed.
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 all over, about two 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 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.
Makes six servings.