San Francisco got a burst of summer when it got up to nearly 90 degrees this week – which is probably some sort of record high. The dry heat was a nice departure from our usual constant state of windy Springtime, especially when I finished off the night stargazing on my roof deck with a chilled glass of Cabernet and my favorite dining companion, Merryweather.
I am always trying to up my game when I cook for her, delivering an even better meal than the last. I had already planned on making a Spring meal before the heat wave hit the city, so I wasn’t about to let global warming get in the way of my dinner plans for Merryweather. And as I had hoped, the meal was truly outstanding and we enjoyed every last bite!
- 1 lb rack of lamb, Frenched
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 2 TB chopped fresh dill
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 TB olive oil, divided
Fingerling Potatoes with Lemon-Herb Salt
- 1 1/2 lb small fingerling potatoes (about 12), halved lengthwise
- 1 TB rosemary
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 1 tsp fresh oregano leaves
- 1 TB lemon zest
- 1 TB kosher salt
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1 TB unsalted butter, melted
- freshly ground pepper
Sautéed Yellow Squash and White Zucchini
- 1 small yellow squash
- 1 small white zucchini
- 1 tsp salt-free Italian seasoning
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl combine garlic, parsley, dill, dijon and 1 TB of olive oil. Set aside to let flavors meld. Using a mini food processor, grind the rosemary, thyme, oregano and lemon zest, scraping down the sides and continuing to grind until all herbs are very finely chopped. Add the salt and grind again. Transfer to a small dish and set aside.
Toss potatoes in olive oil, butter and pepper then transfer to a baking sheet, spreading in a single layer. Roast flat side down for 25 minutes, then remove from oven. Toss the potatoes and season them generously with the herb salt, then turn them over flat side up and bake for another 5 minutes. Reserve excess salt in a sealed jar and refrigerate until use.
Meanwhile, heat 1 TB olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season lamb generously with salt and pepper, then cook in the skillet, turning occasionally until golden brown all over – about 7 minutes. Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet, placing fat side up. Spread herbed Dijon mixture over the lamb and roast for 18 minutes.
While lamb is roasting, remove the skillet from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Bring excess oil back to a low heat and add the squash, zucchini, and Italian seasoning. Sauté over a medium-low flame for about 10-12 minutes, tossing occasionally.
If timed correctly, your lamb should come out of the oven to rest for 5 minutes at the same time that you put the potatoes back in the oven for their final roast. Your veggies should also be about done at this time. Once lamb has rested, cut between bones into chops and transfer to a serving dish. Transfer potatoes and veggies to separate serving dishes and enjoy!
I have to admit, I was practically drooling over this meal as I snapped about 20 photos. I had worried that I may have overcooked the lamb, but it was perfectly rare in the middle and crispy on the outside. The potatoes were crunchy and savory – so delicious! I didn’t even add ketchup, as I normally do with roasted potatoes (sorry, mom). Since I opted to sauté the zucchini and squash in the leftover oils from searing the lamb, I chose not to add extra salt. It was a good call because the sweetness of the vegetables stood out, and the potatoes provided enough saltiness to the meal. Needless to say, all three components worked perfectly together like a party on my plate.
I paired this meal with Round Pond 2009 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, which I purchased over a year ago at the tasting room. The wine had sweet and spicy aromas, with a rich palate of blackberry, candied fruit, and dark chocolate. Smooth and round, this Cab had polished tannins and a long finish. It was a nice pairing to the roasted lamb because of it’s slightly herbal qualities and rich mouthfeel – plus, I believe the elevated quality of the meal matched well with the wine selection.
This was my first time making rack of lamb, and it seemed a bit daunting. But now that I’ve done it, I realize how easy it is! The New Zealand raised, grass fed lamb was from Whole Foods and was only $20 – not too bad when split between two people. I think I will make this a Springtime tradition – which means all year in San Francisco!