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Rack of Lamb with Harissa Sauce & Pomegranate Salsa

Rack of Lamb with Harissa Sauce & Pomegranate Salsa

Chef, author, and founder of Salt & Wind, Aida Mollenkamp shows you how to make a delicious rack of lamb.
Ingredients
  • 2 frenched racks of lamb, with 8 bones per rack (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme, leaves stripped and coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or ground to a paste
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided plus more for serving
  • 4 tablespoons grapeseed, peanut, or canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Green Harissa
  • 1 medium jalapeño
  • 1 1/2 cups packed baby spinach or baby chard
  • 3/4 cup packed fresh Italian parsley leaves and stems (about 1 ounce)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut halves
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
  • 1 medium garlic clove , smashed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper
Minted Pomegranate Salsa Recipe
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange or mandarin juice plus zest
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds
  • 2/3 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pomegranate Molasses
  • 3 cups 100% unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar


Directions:

Rack of Lamb
Makes about 8 servings

1. Using a sharp knife, trim all but a thin layer of fat from the racks, then score the fat side of each rack in a crosshatch pattern.


2. Combine thyme with the garlic and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and rub the mixture all over the lamb. Season well with freshly ground black pepper, place the racks in a baking dish, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight (for a max of 24 hours).


3. When ready to roast, heat the oven to 250°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Place lamb racks bone-side down in a heavy roasting pan and lean the bones of each rack into the other so they prop each other up. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil then roast until the thickest part of the lamb reads 125°F (for medium-rare) on an instant-read digital thermometer, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes (start checking at 45 minutes as cooking time depends on weight of racks).


4. When the racks are at temperature, remove from oven then heat the grapeseed, peanut, or canola oil in heavy-bottomed 12-inch stainless steel or cast iron skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add one rack of lamb to skillet fat-side down and sear until well-browned on all sides, turning with tongs as necessary, about 2 minutes total. Set the first rack of lamb on a cutting board, tent with foil. Discard all but 1 teaspoon of fat in the skillet then repeat with the second rack.


5. Transfer the racks to a cutting board, stand them upright and let rest tented with foil for at least 15 minutes before carving. Carve the racks in between the rib bones, season with salt and a last drizzle of olive oil. Serve with the harissa sauce and pomegranate salsa served alongside.


Green Harissa
Makes 2 cups

1. Turn a gas burner on medium heat and char the jalapeño, turning frequently, until blackened and slightly collapsed. Transfer the jalapeños to a cutting board to cool slightly. Once cool enough, trim off the stems from the jalapeños and remove the seeds and ribs.
If you like spice, add the seeds and ribs, or taste and adjust to your liking.

2. Combine the jalapeños with all the harissa ingredients except 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a food processor or blender and blend, scraping down the sides as needed, until smooth.

3. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Transfer to a bowl and add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir to help loosen the sauce.


Minted Pomegranate Salsa Recipe
Makes about 2 cups

1. Combine olive oil, juice, pomegranate molasses, vinegar, shallot, and pomegranate seeds in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combined. Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving to allow flavors to meld. Stir in mint and citrus zest and serve.
Salsa (without mint) can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
*Note: You can buy pomegranate molasses online or in most gourmet grocery stores. Otherwise, you can make your own with the following recipe.


Pomegranate Molasses
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1. Combine the pomegranate juice and brown sugar in small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let cook until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. When the juice is reduced, remove from heat and set aside. Can be made up to 2 weeks ahead of time and stored refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.

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