TC Recipe: Roast Rack of Lamb with a Fennel Gratin, Petite Salad of Arugula, and Black Currant Demi-Glace

August 15 2013

By Junior Sous Chef Jeff Gardner
Suggested Pairing: 2010 NxNW Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Serves 4

Rack of Lamb with Fennel Gratin

Part of my job as Executive Chef is to constantly taste and evaluate our wines. This is, of course, a wonderful perk of the job but it’s also important; I need to consider how our wines and culinary creations will share the palate. A few weeks ago I tasted the 2010 CV Cabernet and I have been thinking about it ever since. I love that the dark fruit oozes complexity but doesn’t overwhelm the palate. A wine like this is versatile enough to pair with both rich meats and garden flavors, and Chef Jeff Gardner’s recipe proves this. The lamb, when dredged through the black currant demi-glace is rich and comforting, and is an all-around delicious bite with the Cabernet. The fennel gratin starts with anise on the palate, moving into a bulbous platform allowing the anise to become a subtle backdrop to the rest of the flavors on the plate. To top it off, the peppery freshness of the arugula is the perfect palate cleanser when washed down with the Cabernet. Enjoy! – Executive Chef Benjamin Nadolny

Ingredients

For the Rack of Lamb:

  • 1 each Rack of Lamb, Frenched
  • 2 tbsp. Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 4 tbsp. Fresh Minced Herbs, parsley and thyme
  • 1/4 cup Bread Crumbs
  • Salt and Pepper as needed

For the Fennel Gratin:

  • 4-5 ea. Fennel Bulbs
  • 3 cups Heavy Cream
  • 2 clove Garlic
  • 2 oz. Swiss Cheese
  • 2 sprigs Thyme

For the Salad:

  • 2 cups Arugula
  • 1 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Lemon Juice, fresh pinch of salt

For the Sauce:

  • 3 oz. Black Currants (fresh if available, frozen is OK)
  • 7 oz. Demi-Glace (available at your local meat market)

Preparation

For the Fennel Gratin:
1. Lightly oil a casserole dish and reserve for the sliced fennel.
2. In a small pot bring to a simmer the cream, 2 cloves garlic and a few springs of thyme. Remove from the heat once it bubbles.
3. Cut the fennel bulb away from the green tops and slice lengthwise about 1/4 inch on a mandolin.
4. Layer the sliced fennel in a baking dish, alternating with the seasoned cream and cheese until it has reached a height of 1 ½ to 2 inches. Season with salt and pepper. Make sure before baking that the fennel is not floating in the cream – and if so drain some cream.
5. Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until tender.

For Rack of Lamb:
1. Season the rack of lamb with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Sear the rack of lamb until the meat has a light golden brown color. Remove from the pan and let rest on a wire rack.
2. Combine fresh herbs and bread. Spread a tablespoon of mustard on the rack of lamb, and then roll it in the bread crumb mixture. Roast in an oven at 400 degrees until desired temperature is reached (about 7-9 minutes for medium-rare.)
3. Let the rack rest for 3 minutes before cutting.

For the Salad:
In a small mixing bowl, mix the arugula with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.

For the Sauce:
Heat the black currants and demi-glace together and reduce by 1/4, or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.

To Plate:
1. Place a square piece of gratin in the center of the plate.
2. Ladle the sauce around the plate.
3. Slice the rack of lamb into chops and place 2 chops on the plate next to the gratin.
4. Place the salad on top of the gratin.
5. Present to your guests and enjoy.