Then we ate a little lamb… and tried to catch some zzs.April 5, 2007
There’s no need to count sheep with a newborn in your house. When I have a few moments to catch some zzs, I don’t need a winding down ritual… My eyes snap shut and I’m sawing wood within seconds. (And let me just say, the expression “sleeping like a baby” is a gross mischaracterization of newborn sleep patterns.)
So I’m not counting sheep… but that hasn’t stopped me from eating one. Er, sort of. A lamb is a sheep, right? (I’m too tired to look it up, so just go with me on this riff.) The point is: In between infrequent naps, I’ve been chowing on some lamb.
Generally speaking, I prefer my lamb in kabob or gyro form. But my husband, of course, has conspired once again to widen my horizons. His lamb is succulent and delectable, and while flavorful, it isn’t buried in the spices that sometimes mask the lamb flavor in gyros or kabob dishes. And in this case, that’s a good thing. The lamb sustains its unique character, but takes on subtle seasoning from my husband’s yogurt marinade and a wonderful, smokey char from the grill.
And now, at last, I can welcome my husband’s experimental cooking once again. That’s right: Many of the ol’ pregnancy dietary restrictions have been lifted! I’m back on sweets again. So, as much as I know you’ll enjoy this lamb dish, I think our dear readers should clamor for more sweets. Am I right? I’m right, aren’t I?
Ah, it’s really spring here in America’s capital. How can I tell? Well, there are two sure signs. First, the Cherry Blossom Festival has begun, so the tidal basin near the Jefferson Memorial is stuffed with tourists — good for the city, bad for people having to get somewhere. The second sign is the great temperature undulation that is DC’s spring — hot summer temperatures followed by cold windy wetness within a 24-hour period.
Spring means Passover, Easter and better and fresher food. Perhaps nothing represents these traditions better than lamb. I love lamb. My wife is not so crazy about it, but there is something about the spice and texture that just makes me happy.
Therefore, to spread the joy, I’ve given you this recipe. Yogurt is the key here. There is something about its tanginess combined with the char from the grill that makes the lamb incredible. With spring here and Easter days away, this is a great eat for a party or meal with family or even served as appetizers, such as lamb lollipops.
Grilled Rack of Lamb
2 lbs. rack of lamb
1 1/2 cups yogurt
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1/2 medium onion (diced)
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. mint (finely chopped)
1 tbsp. thyme (finely chopped)
1 tbsp. marjoram (finely chopped)
1. Butchering the lamb. Using a sharp knife, run the blade along the edge of the fat where the bone meets the muscle. Run the knife lengthwise down the rack, peeling back the fat from the meat. It should expose the red meat below, while still leaving some fat along the base of the rib bones. There is a membrane that runs the length of the meat. Press your knife barely under the membrane and pull it away.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the ingredients for the marinade. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of meat. In a baking dish or similar vessel, pour about 2/3 of the marinade. Place the rack with the newly exposed side down into the marinade. Pour the remainder of the marinade over the back. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
3. If you have a gas grill, heat half the grill over high heat and the other over medium low. If you are working with charcoal, you’ll need to set up zones so there is a hot and a cooler region.
4. Once the grill is properly heated, place the lamb meat side down on the high heat and cook for 4 min. while the grill is covered. Then flip the rack and cook for another 4 min. Move the rack to the cooler area of the grill. Cover and cook for another 5 min. or until the meat reaches 135F. This should get you to between medium to medium rare.
NOTE: The bones on the rack can burn. If you are serving these for a special occasion, I recommend wrapping the bones in heavy aluminum foil.
5. Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 min. Cut between each rib and serve. Enjoy!