The Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, CA inspired me to get home and try out some of the fresh garlic I purchased from the show. This Mediterranean style dish features garlic throughout. The first step is to trim the lamb chop of excess fat, if necessary, and to clean the rib bones for presentation after grilling. The second step is to make the garlic infused marinade. I’m emulsifying the garlic in a egg and olive oil mixture, similar to a loose aioli.
The Lamb Rack Marinade
Lamb Rack Marinade
- 1 Egg, whole
- 2 tbsp Wine, white
- 2 1/2 tbsp Garlic, fresh minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp Rosemary, fresh
- 1/2 cup Oil, olive
Add the first four ingredients to a food processor or a blender. While the machine is running, add a very think stream of olive oil and emulsify the mixture.
In a 1 gallon Ziplock freezer bag or small container add the prepped lamb rack and the marinade. Let marinate for 24 hrs, turning the bag or rack often to evenly coat.
The Ragout of Fresh Vegetables
The ragout of fresh vegetables can be the artichoke, olives and oven-dried tomato as it is here, but you can use some of you favorites to substitute. In this recipe I’ve roughly chopped up the vegetables, but afterwards I thought they might look better just leaving them halved. Experiment to see what you like. The sauce, which begins with a mirepoix, is really more of a nage or court bullion (wine/chicken broth with lemon) to hold the artichoke, olives and oven-dried tomato.
Ragout of Grilled Artichokes & Oven Dried Tomatoes
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup white onion chopped
- 1/2 cup carrot brunoise or small dice
- 2 ribs of celery brunoise or small dice
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flake
- 1/4 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cup grilled artichoke hearts roughly chopped or chopped in half
- 1/2 cup oven-dried tomatoes
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives pitted, sliced in half
- 1/4 cup of fresh thyme or lemon thyme chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary minced
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley minced
In a medium pot or deep sauce pan, add the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil has become hot add the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf. Sauté until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic, red pepper flake and sauté for an additional 5-8 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Deglaze the pan with white wine and lemon juice. After about 5 minutes, when the wine has mostly cooked off, add the chicken stock. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and let steep for 10 minutes, reserve. Right before you need the Ragout, add the roughly chopped artichoke hearts, oven dried tomato, Kalamata olives, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, fresh parsley and heat through.
A word about grilling and the Maillard reaction (searing meat over high heat to gain a flavorful/caramelized crust). There has been a lot of talk about the benefits of reverse searing vs. direct searing. Both types of searing techniques help the cook get a large piece of meat ready for service quickly. Reverse searing cooks the meat slowly at a low temperature and then holds it just below done until you need it. This is basically the technique utilized in sous vide cooking as well. Once you are nearly ready to serve your guests, you quickly sear the meat to give it that tasty crust. Direct searing, on the other hand, is the opposite, in which you first sear the meat and then later heat it through in an oven to finish. As a professional cook I’ve had to master both techniques. It is really up to you to determine which gives you a better result. Beginning cooks sometimes prefer the reverse searing if they’ve burned something using direct searing. Some believe switching up techniques makes the process a little easier. The way I see it, you are either going to burn the meat or you are not.
In this case, I’m using direct searing. Remove the the lamb rack from the marinade and sear the lamb rack over high heat on your grill. Turn the rack often to char and caramelize for complete coverage. Sometimes I will hold the rack on its end over the grill with a pair of tongs. Once the lamb rack is fully marked, I will reserve it on a sheet pan until I need it for service. I preheat my oven to 400 degrees and when I’m ready I will finish the lamb rack off by reaching an internal temperature of 130 degrees (medium rare) with an instant-read meat thermometer.
Wine pairing for grilled garlic rack of lamb would be a nice Italian Merlot (2005 Falesco Montiano Lazio) or New Zealand Pinot Noir (2014 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir).