Sunday, 16 November 2014

Lambsickles (a.k.a.Lamb, Modena Style)

Lamb ... lamb ... what is not to love about lamb?

This delicious dish does not require huge amounts of lead time, but does take patience to be able to do well. Take heart, have fun and work carefully with the knives, especially when Frenching the bones!

To start ... go and buy a whole rack of lamb ... figure two or three bones per person, and racks come in at 8, sometimes 9, bones. (The racks available at Costco are a very good deal, and are worth buying one or two of. I always have a whole rack on hand in case someone shows up for dinner. They are halal as well, so go over very well in our kitchens at MPC!) Once you gain confidence working with lamb and racks, I encourage everyone to go to a local butcher and get fresh lamb from one of their local farmers. I buy my fresh Ontario lamb at either The Brickworks Farmers' market or at my favourite food store, Fiesta Farms.

Learn how to 'French' bones using the back of a knife, (not the working blade ... you'll wreck the edge), and patience. Be sure to cut the chops (we call them 'Lambsickles" because in class we eat them with our fingers) evenly thick so the cooking time is consistent.

Our 'dredge' (coating) is made with 'Italian' breadcrumbs, and we add the following: salt and pepper, a goodly amount of powdered parmegiano and make a chiffonade of fresh herbs (if we can get them) -- usually rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil (the Mediterranean Quadrivium). Others may prefer a sightly 'darker' mix, using sage, perhaps, and marjoram or tarragon.

Make your balsamic reduction from good product, not cheap stuff. You will always be able to taste the difference! Get good vinegar from Modena. Reduce, then let it thicken for you as it cools.

The final cooking is done quickly ... takes about 14 minutes from start to served. Our single biggest problem this semester was remembering to pre-heat the ovens beforehand AND pre-position the oven racks so the saute pans can fit in with their handles! (Note to the adventurous at home ... be sure your pans AND handles can go into the oven! Your sauté pan must go from stovetop to 375 degree oven in about 3 seconds.)

The photos presented are in order (top to bottom) of the lambsickles in the pan fresh from the oven, the preparation of the presentation plate and the final presented product of a pair of lambsickles and a pair of lamb poppers. The plates are prepared with balsamic reduction, and a little more is drizzled over the finished lambsickles. They were absolutely delicious!

Finally, we have VERY satisfied suctomers (so to speak). Today, we ate what we made. Congratulations, all!

(And just for the curious, this recipe is called 'Modena Style' because it uses a reduction of real Balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy!)

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