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Barbecue Secrets

Rack of Lamb with Balsamic Reduction

Jun 30, 2010

Rack of Lamb with Balsamic Reduction

Makes 4 main course servings or 8 appetizer servings

This is a delicious way to grill lamb racks. The balsamic reduction has an incredible sweet tanginess that offsets the earthiness of the dried herbs and brings out the flavor of the meat. Serve the racks cut into chops as an appetizer, or as a main course with rice, grilled asparagus, and a nice green salad.

4 racks of lamb, Frenched by your butcher

(trimmed to bare the ribs and remove the silverskin – lots of lamb is pre-packaged this way)

kosher salt to taste

2 Tbsp | 25 mL lemon juice

1/2 cup | 125 mL extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp | 25 mL Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp | 15 mL chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 tsp | 2 mL freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, smashed or pushed through a garlic press

1 cup | 250 mL balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp | 25 mL Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp | 15 mL granulated garlic

1 Tbsp | 15 mL granulated onion

1/2 tsp | 2 mL cayenne

1/2 cup | 125 mL Mediterranean Dried Herb Rub (see recipe below)

1 Tbsp | 15 mL olive oil

sprigs of fresh mint, for garnish

            One to two hours before you are going to cook the lamb racks, lightly season the lamb with salt. Combine the lemon juice, 1/2 cup | 50 mL oil, 2 Tbsp | 25 mL mustard, rosemary, pepper, and fresh garlic in a nonreactive baking dish or resealable plastic bag. Add the racks, turning them once or twice to ensure they are evenly exposed to the marinade.

            While the lamb is marinating, pour the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook it, watching it carefully, until the vinegar has reduced to about 1/2 its
original volume (10–15 minutes). It should be a thick syrup that coats the back of a spoon. Set it aside to cool.

            Prepare your grill for medium direct heat. Take the lamb out of the marinade, pat the racks dry with paper towels, and brush them with the remaining 2 Tbsp | 25 mL mustard. Combine the granulated garlic, onion, and cayenne in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture lightly over the lamb racks. Coat the racks generously with the herb rub, patting it on with your hands so it sticks to the meat. Drizzle the olive oil over the rubbed racks and pat it into the rub.

            Using cherry wood as a flavoring agent (optional), grill the racks for 4—5 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature at the thickest point is 135–140˚F | 57–60˚C. To serve, cut the racks into individual chops, arrange them on plates, and drizzle them with the balsamic reduction. Garnish the lamb with sprigs of fresh mint.

Mediterranean Dried Herb Rub

Makes enough to coat several racks of lamb or a whole leg of lamb or pork roast

These days, food lovers tend to shy away from dried herbs in favor of the fresh ones that are so
readily available. We tend to associate unpleasantly stale, dirty flavors with dried herbs, but that’s probably because we use them so rarely that the ones in our pantry are too old. Dried herbs, when used within a few months of purchasing them, can add a wonderful earthiness and complexity to grilled foods. In fact, the high heat of grilling often destroys the delicate flavors of fresh herbs. In most cases fresh herbs, other than the very strong rosemary and sage, are best used after your meat is off the grill, as a finely chopped sprinkle to add color and aroma. Use this rub for meats like chicken and pork, but it also works well with grilled vegetables. Just toss the veggies with oil and sprinkle them with the rub and some kosher salt.

1 Tbsp | 15 mL dried (not powdered) oregano

1 Tbsp | 15 mL dried mint

1 Tbsp | 15 mL dried basil

1 Tbsp | 15 mL dried rosemary

1 tsp | 5 mL dried parsley

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them together well.