The star of Thanksgiving dinner is quick, easy, and packed with flavor. —INGRAIN, Winter 2018
This is the ridiculously easy centerpiece that will have everyone in the room showering you with culinary praise. The secret: Order a pre-trimmed and Frenched crown roast of lamb from your butcher. (The meat at the end of each bone is removed and two racks are tied together to look like something befitting a royal wedding.) If the internal fat isn’t charred to your liking after roasting, a blowtorch works wonders and certainly brings the attention back to the kitchen (an ideal time to turn the chatterers into carvers). With lamb ribs, we count our servings by the chop, not the pound. For “reasonable” eaters, three racks should suffice, but who wants to be around people like that on Thanksgiving? Go with four or even five chops (especially if you live in the Midwest) and expect the usual pickers (grandparents, kids). These times definitely call for chopping your own pistachios ($8 for 12 ounces in-shell salted pistachios, santabarbarapistachios.com). Don't forget to complement your lamb with preserved lemons and sweet olives with marmalade. They are both flavor surprises that really work with the lamb.
Serves 5 to 6
4 pound crown rack of lamb (about 20 racks), trimmed and Frenched
1 cup roasted whole pistachios, roughly chipped
Zest of 2 lemons
2 (6-inch) sprigs rosemary, chipped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
⅓ cup honey
½ cup olive oil
Lamb generously all over with salt and pepper to taste. (Salted pistachios? Go lighter on salting the lamb.) Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and rub the pistachio paste on all sides of the rack of lamb. Let rest, uncovered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Oven to 425°F. Place lamb in a roasting pan or rimmed sheet pan lined with foil and roast about 25 minutes for rare and 30 to 35 minutes for medium-rare. (Perfectionists: 125 degrees or 135 degrees on a digital thermometer; insert diagonally into the middle of one rib.) Let lamb rest for 5 to 10 minutes under a very loose “crown” of foil. Transfer lamb to a platter and spoon any pan juices on top of the lamb. Parade that platter around LOUD and proud before snipping off the trussing string and slicing the ribs.
ARUGULA & PRESERVED LEMON SALAD
Good olive oil
Preserved lemons (thinly sliced)
Marmalade cured olive mix
Handful of arugula on each plate. Squeeze a nice bit of lemon juice over each and drizzle with olive oil.
Salt and pepper onto the arugula and scatter the preserved lemons and marmalade olives throughout the arugula leaves.
MARMALADE CURED OLIVE
⅓ cup orange marmalade
¼ cup each red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
Red pepper flakes
¼ cup currants
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup blanched almonds
½ cup olive oil
8-ounce jar (about 2 cups) Castelvetrano olives
⅓ cup orange marmalade, ¼ cup each red wine vinegar and water, 2 tablespoons each sugar and whole-grain mustard, and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, stir once, and turn off the heat.
¼ cup each currants, raisins, and blanched almonds; let dried fruit plump for a few minutes. Pour in ½ cup olive oil. Strain off liquid from one 8-ounce jar (about 2 cups) of pitted Castelvetrano olives and stir into fruit mixture. Let cool completely, pack into a jar, and marinate overnight. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Tip If you don’t have whole-grain mustard (Maille or similar, not Dijon), increase the vinegar by 1 tablespoon.