I really try to keep our carbon footprint down, but sometimes things conspire against me. This tiny rack of lamb looked pretty sweet in the store, and it was also so, well, ..accessible, when I passed its display the other day. I found it hard to resist, even though I had planned on preparing a pasta Sunday night.
Besides, if I can rationalize going to New Zealand for venison – and I do – why should I have a problem with a tiny rack of lamb? New Zealand knows how to supply both very good venison and very good young lamb, each of which seems beyond the ken of American producers (or American law).
The vegetables however were about as local as they come, the sweet potatoes from Blairstown, New Jersey, and the cabbage from Winfield New York.
- one 18-ounce rack of New Zealand lamb, from Whole Foods, the bones Frenched, brought to room temperature and rubbed with a mixture of chopped garlic from Healthway Farms, chopped rosemary from Whole Foods, sea salt, and freshly-ground black pepper, then allowed to rest for almost an hour before being seared on all sides inside a small oval enameled cast iron pan, placed in a 450º oven for about 15 minutes, or until medium rare, cut into 2 sections and placed on 2 plates, where a little juice from a local lemon from Fantastic Gardens of Long Island was squeezed over the top, followed by a drizzle of olive oil
- about a pound of Japanese sweet potatoes from Race Farm, unpeeled, but washed thoroughly, cut on the diagonal into one-half-inch pieces, tossed in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and 2 large garlic cloves, arranged on a large well-seasoned Pampered Chef unglazed ceramic oven pan, placing the garlic on the top of potato slices, and roasted for about 35 minutes
- one small head of Savoy cabbage from Northshire Farm, washed, quartered, cored, sliced into one-half-inch ribbons, sautéed in a scant tablespoon of olive oil inside a medium heavy, tin-lined copper pot until wilted but still crunchy, stirring occasionally, seasoned with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, and a little more than a teaspoon of toasted cumin seed mixed in, finished with half a teaspoon of Columela Rioja 30 Year Reserva sherry vinegar, the mix stirred and cooked another couple of minutes
- the wine was a excellent California (Sonoma) red, Ken and Derek Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Sonoma County 2015, from Naked Wines
- the music was Poul Ruders’ 2004-2005 opera, ‘Kafka’s Trial’, the Royal Danish Orchestra and the Royal Danish Opera Choir conducted by Thomas Søndergård