January 20, 2009

Fancy Schmancy

After too many nights of easy to prepare comfort food, I was feeling ready to tackle something a little bit more challenging this weekend. So I planned this lovely dinner for Brad and I, complete with all our fancy china and crystal (thank-you wedding guests!). The star was rack of lamb, served with roasted tomatoes and potatoes. It was delicious!! And really not hard at all, which totally shocked me because lamb just seems like restaurant food and not something that would be all that good when cooked at home. I don't mean to toot my own horn or anything, but this lamb was just as good as many of the places we've been to, and even better than others.

All you have to do is brown the lamb, then rub it with a delicious garlic, herb and olive oil mixture. Then you roast it in the same pan over potatoes that crisp up nicely in the oven and get all those savory lamb juices. At the same time, you roast up some tomatoes with the same garlicy mixture. The whole thing looks and tastes amazing. If I hadn't cooked it myself, I swear I would have believed that it came from the cute little french brasserie down the street.

This would make the most beautiful Valentine's Day dinner for the person you love - or for your pal who has nothing to do on the 14th either. To complete the entire meal, we started with a 1/2 bottle of champagne (a habit we happily picked up while in France after noticing that many patrons ordered a glass of bubbly while they were perusing the wine list), had a lovely salad to start (which I will share with you later this week), and sipped a beautiful Cabernet-Sauvignon that had been recommended to accompany the lamb. If serving on the big V-day, I would definitely advise to not skimp on the bubbly or vino. :)

Proven├žal Rack of Lamb with Roasted Tomatoes
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine - October 2008
Serves 2

2 Garlic Cloves
Salt and Pepper
2 tsp chopped Thyme
1 tsp chopped Rosemary
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 medium Tomatoes
1 (1-lb) frenched Rack of Lamb, cut in half
2 medium Shallots, thinly sliced
2 medium boiling Potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 Tbsp Water
  • Preheat oven to 400℉.
  • Mash garlic to a paste with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper, using the back of a knife.
  • In a small bowl, combine paste with the chopped herbs and 1 Tbsp of oil.
  • Half tomatoes and place inside a small, oiled baking dish.
  • Drizzle 1/3 of garlic mixture on top of tomatoes, and roast for 30 - 40 minutes, or until tomatoes are tender.
  • While tomatoes are cooking, pat dry the lamb and season with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
  • In a skillet over medium-high, heat the olive oil until it begins to shimmer.
  • Brown lamb on all sides, for about 1 minute per side, or 4-6 minutes total.
  • Place lamb aside and discard any excess oil in the pan.
  • Heat remaining Tbsp of oil over medium heat and add shallots and potatoes.
  • Cook until potatoes start to get slightly brown on the edges, 3-5 minutes.
  • Stir in water and half the remaining garlic mixture and turn off heat.
  • Rub remaining garlic mixture on the fat side of the lamb, and place, fat side up, on top of potatoes and shallots in pan.
  • Roast for about 20-25 minutes for medium-rare, or until lamb is at 130℉ (careful not to touch the bone).
  • Place lamb on cutting board and cover loosely with foil for 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve with tomatoes and potatoes.


Elra said...

Lamb is my favorite meat, and it is too bad that I can not really cook lamb whenever I want to. I have to limit myself to just once a month. I know, that a shame!
I really this recipe of yours, it has all my favorite herbs. Delicious.

Debby said...

Beautiful job! Lovely table, too. I'll bet your husband was proud of you...and it's so much more romantic to make your own fancy meal.

If only my husband loved lamb... SIGH. I absolutely adore it!

Maria said...

Very fancy! Nice job here!

Abbie said...

Mmm, impressive! I've only had lamb once, and it was delish, but I've never been brave enough to try it.
More power to you :)

Emily said...

Yum! You should make this more often. You'd feel like you were eating out every night. I haven't been brave enough to roast a rack of lamb yet, but I will try to in the future.

Tanya said...

Oh, that is fancy and I love it! You did a wonderful job.

Chef Fresco said...

This looks fantabulous! Lately I had to pull myself away from the grill and do more inside—too cold. Roasting vegies is sooo good, great recipe!

kellypea said...

I tried this recipe, too! Pretty tasty, but we didn't get to sit at a lovely table setting like the one you've set. Just beautiful! Your other choices for dinner are perfect for the lamb. Very nice!

Culinarywannabe said...

Hi Elra - I love lamb as well. Such a shame red meat isn't all that good for us!

Hi Debby - Thanks! Brad sure seemed impressed (and full!).

Hi Maria - Thanks!

Hi Abbie - You really should try it, I promise it wasn't hard at all.

Hi Emily - Wouldn't that save us a few bucks!

Hi Tanya - Thanks so much!

Hi Chef Fresco - Yes, much too cold. Better to stay inside with the roasting veggies and a glass of red wine!

Hi Kellypea - Thank-you. Setting the table was a real treat, but all that hand-washing afterwards was not so fun!

Grace said...

fancy-shmancy indeed, yet still doable! i'm very much impressed by this--you'd be charged an arm and a leg for something like this at a restaurant!

Pumpkin said...

Oooh, yum! What a beautiful romantic dinner for you and your hubby! I really enjoy lamb, but I agree, it's something I tend to think of as "restaurant food". I should try cooking it at home sometime.

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