Easter is a HUGE celebration in our home. My husband Tony is Greek and I'm Italian. Every few years due to different calendars, Greek Orthodox Easter and Western (Catholic and Protestant) Easter land on the same day. It will happen again this year, so when our two families collide it is one enormous eat fest! There is so much food coming at us because of the two different cultures that we literally eat all day!
The one thing that is a must to serve on Easter on both sides is Lamb. I have taken a bit of liberty over the years and changed our traditional leg of lamb we normally serve to rack of lamb. This recipe for rack of Lamb is a winner, easy to prepare, comes out moist and bursting with flavor. The smooth, creamy white bean puree is a perfect combination and works well with the intense flavor of the lamb. The mint dipping sauce puts this over the edge. The rack of lamb cut into chops are gone in minutes. It seems there is never enough!
(makes 6 servings)
1 cup white wine vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 racks of lamb, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds (7 to 8 chops)
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Lots of cracked pepper
6 small mint sprigs, for garnish
Make the syrup ahead of time, or even the day before. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the vinegar and sugar to a simmer, cooking until the mixture has the consistency of syrup, 8 to 10 minutes. Continue to cook, reducing by half. Remove the pan from the heat, and let cool for 10 minutes. Add the mint and mix. Cover with plastic wrap and cool for about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the pantry, and serve at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Place the ribs bone side down in a roasting pan. Place 2 tablespoons of the Dijon mustard on each rack of lamb, and rub all over the top with the back of a spoon. Over each rack, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the garlic powder and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce. Divide the thyme over the two racks. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over each rack, and crack plenty of pepper over both.
Bake the lamb for 18 to 25 minutes.
Turn on the broiler. Place the lamb in the broiler 4 inches from the heat source, and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the top is golden and bubbly. Keep and eye out so it doesn't burn. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board. Cover lightly with foil, and let rest for 5 to 6 minutes.
Slice the racks into chops by cutting between the bones. Place on a platter, or serve 2 to 3 chops per plate, with the mint syrup on the side. Garnish with a sprig of mint (if using). I like to serve White Bean Puree with this dish.
Photo reprinted with permission from Cristina Ferrare's Big Bowl of Love copyright 2011 by Cristina Ferrare, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Todd Porter and Diane Cu.