Here is another memory I have from my Food Production 2 class. It is taking place in October of 2018. I am making lamb for the first time ever. Grilled lamb at that. Since there weren’t much students in this class, we usually each got to make dishes ourselves. No partner to bicker with about how much salt, or pepper to use. I mean we did have the recipes in our cook books that we were supposed to follow, but a chef has to use intuition sometimes.
I think that the instructor chose me to do the grilled lamb because I was doing good in his class, but maybe it could have been that he wanted to try delicious lamb made by me. Either way I was fine getting the rack of lamb. It was more fun than doing stewed lamb or working on side dishes like some of the other students. When I brought the full rack of lamb to my work station, it was a little intimidating. I mean, I barely have ever fabricated a chicken or whole fish, and now I was fabricating lamb.
The method to Frenching a rack of lamb is to first remove the layers of fat from the surface. Next, you make an even cut through the fat, perpendicular to the ribs about 1 inch from the rib eye. Next, you have to clean off all the meat on the rib bones. A neat trick that Chef Raymond taught me was to tie string at the base of the bone, then pull it hard and it cleans all the unwanted meat off of the bone.
After Frenching the lamb, I made a fragrant basil pesto with pine nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese that I rubbed all over the lamb. After letting the lamb marinate for 30 minutes, it was almost ready for the grill. Another neat trick he taught me was to wrap the bones in foil so that they don’t get dark from the cooking. I put the rack on the grill for ten minutes per side, not to get it too dark. After taking it off of the grill, I transferred it to a baking pan, rubbed more pesto on and let it finish in the oven on 350 until it was medium.
While it was baking, of course I had to go out of my way to make a side dish with this delicious looking cut of lamb. By this time I was the polenta king. After making it in food production one, I was addicted. I made it at home all the time with different variations of cheeses, vegetables and seasonings until I found the way that I like to make it. For my polenta I sautéed onions, garlic and bell peppers, then added chicken stock, thyme, salt and pepper. Once that came to a boil, I add the polenta and stir until it absorbs the water and is cooked through. After it isn’t gritty anymore I add heavy cream and parmesan cheese, then adjust my seasonings.
Now the lamb was done baking ! From the time I started fabricating the lamb, I knew exactly how I wanted to have it plated up. My idea was to serve it in a bowl with the polenta at the bottom, the leftover basil pesto in the center, then two chops from the lamb leaning on each other and intersecting right over the pesto. Looking back at the picture I should have used a spoon to indent the center of the polenta so that the pesto would stay in the center, lesson learned.
My first time tasting lamb was pretty enjoyable, the pesto being both cooked on the lamb and served as is worked really well. I ended up taking home two chops and more polenta. I told myself I would buy a rack and repeat the process at home with my own recipe, sadly I still haven’t yet. I need to though because with all that I have learned since that class ended, I could make it so much better now.
That is all for today’s blog, hope that you all enjoyed it and look forward to next week’s recipe. Have a great day.