Sometimes (more often than I care to admit…) I buy things on impulse, without knowing exactly what to do with them. Last week I saw a New Zealand rack of lamb, and couldn’t resist it. I hid the package in the fridge, hoping to surprise my beloved with a special meal. I think his top three favorite dishes are Beef Wellington, rack of lamb, and grilled salmon….sushi and oysters on the halfshell are also strong contenders… At any rate, I knew the lamb would be well received!
Normally I’d simplify the preparation of a rack of lamb: salt and pepper, and nothing else. The meat is so flavorful, it shines on its own. However, a recipe in Ming Tsai’s book (Ming’s Master Recipes) changed my mind, as it had “Autumn” and “Romance” written all over it… 😉
CRANBERRY-TERIYAKI LAMB RACK with COUSCOUS SALAD
(adapted from Ming Tsai’s Master Recipes)
2 lamb racks
1 cup cranberry-teriyaki glaze (recipe below)
1 cup couscous, cooked
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
3 scallions stalks, sliced (reserve green part for garnishing)
1/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Marinate the racks of lamb in the glaze for a couple of hours or overnight. Prepare a hot grill, remove lamb from the marinade and grill it to medium-rare. For our small racks of lamb, I grilled for 12 minutes, turning them halfway through. Allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes before slicing it between the bones.
Prepare the couscous salad…
Cook the couscous as instructed in the package, and reserve. In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, zest, and mustard. Slowly add the oil, still whisking, to form an emulsion, and season it with salt and pepper. Add the white part of the scallions, the cranberries and the cooked couscous, tossing well to combine.
To serve, place the couscous on a plate, top it with the lamb chops, garnish with scallion greens, and spoon some extra cranberry glaze on top of the lamb.
1/8 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 cup cranberry juice
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
zest and juice of 1 orange
salt to taste
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil, add the dried cranberries, shallot slices and ginger and cook over high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cranberry juice, soy sauce, sugar, orange zest and juice and simmer over low heat until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Let it cool slightly and then transfer it to a blender.
Blend the sauce, adding the remaining olive oil with the machine running. Do not blend it until it is completely smooth, the sauce is supposed to contain little bits of cranberries. Taste and adjust seasoning; it keeps for 1 week refrigerated.
to print the recipe, click here.
Comments: Ming’s Master Recipes is a very nice, well organized book. Each chapter centers on a basic recipe (for a sauce, glaze, vinaigrette, rub… ) followed by a few dishes incorporating them. For example, this cranberry glaze is also used on chicken, sweet potato satays (in a very creative side dish I want to make soon), and thick pork chops.
I am a huge fan of Ming Tsai, and I used to watch his shows on FoodTV, back on the days when FoodTV was awesome. Apart from being a great chef, he seems like a wonderful person. The fact that he’s also quite handsome is a bonus… 😉 But, back to the recipe: we both loved the combination of lamb with the cranberry glaze. The couscous was perfect as a side dish.
Since you will have to make the sauce in advance to marinate the meat (overnight is best) this special meal can be on your table in less than 30 minutes! That includes the time to light some candles, and turn the music on!