Originally posted on April 18, 2012.
WE Filipinos are just beginning to appreciate lamb. Time was when literally nobody was touching lamb, nobody was ordering lamb even in restaurants that offered it, simply because the lamb that we knew back then was actually mutton, or old lamb, which obviously had a maanggo taste and smell to it. But now that the local culinary scene is vibrant and every imaginable ingredient that we had difficulty sourcing before is now readily available, what importers are bringing in are good-quality young lamb meat that no longer has that maanggo taste and smell. So, now, we are beginning to appreciate lamb, which is actually a leaner and healthier type of meat to indulge in, and lamb dishes on restaurant menus are now moving as fast as fish, seafood, beef, chicken and pork dishes.
More so if the lamb is cooked into a delicious concoction like the Pineapple Glazed Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb prepared by celebrity chef Norbert Gandler in a cooking demonstration which he conducted during the media launch of the International School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management (ISCAHM) Makati yesterday.
Chef Norbert used a frenched Australian rack of lamb (*frenched means that the ribs have been cleaned or the meat has been trimmed from the end of the rib), and he had the rack seared in a pan with a little olive oil before roasting it in the oven. Searing, he stressed, is important because it locks in the juices of the meat. It’s also important to start the roasting at a high temperature of about 220° and then, after 10 to 15 minutes of roasting, lower the temperature to 180° and then maintain it until the meat is cooked to desired doneness. In the case of lamb, medium is ideal. But, Chef Norbert explains, “it’s important to let the meat rest for about 10 minutes after cooking to ensure maximum tenderness and to prevent the loss of meat juices. Then you can slice or carve it. If you slice it right after the meat comes out of the oven, the juices will all come out and then meat will become dry.”
Chef Norbert served his roast rack of lamb with Port Wine Sauce, Cherry Tomato Confit and Braised Shallots, and garnished it with fresh sprigs of rosemary and thyme to make a dish that tastes as good as it looks and looks as good as it tastes.
Here’s the recipe:
1.2 kgs. rack of lamb, Australian, Frenched
iodized salt and freshly crushed black pepper
60 ml. olive oil
30 grams mustard
50 grams minced garlic
10 grams fresh rosemary or thyme, removed from stem
500 ml. pineapple juice
50 grams butter
1. Trim the rack of lamb if it hasn’t been Frenched. Marinate with olive oil, mustard rosemary or thyme, and garlic. Just before searing the lamb, season with salt and pepper.
2. Place pineapple juice and butter in a saucepan, and reduce by half.
3. In a hot pan, sear rack of lamb with a little oil. Then invert and sear the other side. Finish roasting in the oven at around 180° until desired doneness is achieved. (*If roasting a whole rack of beef, it’s ideal to roast initially at 220° and then lower the temperature to 180° until the roast is done.)
4. When the lamb is cooked, let it rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
5. Before serving, glaze the lamb with pineapple glaze.
THE CHERRY TOMATO CONFIT:
4 pcs. cherry tomatoes
5 grams thyme
10 grams garlic
250 ml. olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
1. Wash and sanitize cherry tomatoes, thyme and garlic.
2. Blanch and peel cherry tomatoes.
3. Slice garlic thinly. Remove thyme from stem.
4. Combine olive oil, garlic and thyme in a saucepot. Bring to a poaching temperature. Add salt and pepper. Poach cherry tomatoes over low heat until cooked.
THE BRAISED SHALLOTS:
900 grams small shallots, peeled
20 grams thyme, removed from stem and chopped coarsely
60 grams white sugar
80 grams unsalted butter
iodized salt as needed
120 ml. red wine
sea salt and ground white pepper to taste
1. Caramelize sugar. Add butter and let it foam.
2. Add shallots, sauté lightly and add season with iodized salt. Sweat the shallots.
3. Deglaze with red wine.
4. Cover and simmer for approximately 12 minutes or until shallots are cooked.
5. Remove cover. Remove shallots and reduce liquid to a syrupy consistency. Then put shallots back into the glace. Season with sea salt and pepper.
THE PORT WINE SAUCE:
50 grams shallots
butter for sautéeing
250 ml. Port wine
1 sprig fresh thyme
700 ml. brown sauce
iodized salt and ground white pepper to taste
40 grams cold butter, cut into nuggets
1. Sauté shallots in a little butter until translucent.
2. Deglaze with Port wine, add fresh thyme and reduce by half.
3. Add brown sauce and simmer until the right consistency is achieved.
4. Strain the sauce.
5. Season to taste. Then monter with cold butter before service. Add cold butter to the sauce after it is cooked gives it additional flavor, thickens the sauce and makes it slightly shiny. The proper way to monter with cold butter is to whisk right away to emulsify the butter and incorporate it into the sauce, otherwise the butter will remain separate.