Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pesto Rack of Lamb; Saturday in the Catskills

pesto lamb (out of oven)

Last night had one of those amethyst skies that, should you see the effect in a Frederick Church painting your brain would rebel against the artist's dramatic flair. However, there it was in full glory.

It was a glorious day for food as well. In the morning we popped up to Gills Farm and then Fleishers, the grass-fed and organic meat butcher in Kingston, NY. It was pretty cool to watch Josh, the proprietor, break down the lamb in front of us. We had cut a massive amount of basil from the farm, and so Lisl, Aussie that she is, turned to me and said "pesto rack of lamb?" I've never splurged on a rack of lamb before, but we decided what the hell. The quality at Fleishers is hard to resist. I'll post some other pictures from the day below, but first the very simple lamb recipe that Lisl prepared:

Pesto Rack of Lamb

Trim any excess fat from the rack of lamb and smear pesto (see below) all over the meat.
pesto lamb (applying)

Preheat oven to 450F. Place the lamb rack on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, then turn down the heat to 400F and roast for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven (the very top picture) and then slice between the bones to separate each chop.

pesto lamb (plated)

We served this with zucchini and some boiled potatoes lightly tossed in some of the remaining pesto (yes we on a serious pesto kick, but it wasn't overwhelming). This is paired nicely with a pinot noir.


Pesto (fast/lazy method)
While 101 Cookbooks has a very cool post on making pesto like an Italian grandmother, we were in a hurry so used the food processor. Making pesto is about tasting as you go, rather than scientific measurement. I stuffed several handfuls of basil leaves in the food processor with a handful of pine nuts, several pinches of salt, a clove of garlic, a handful of grated parmesan cheese, and a dousing of olive oil. Then it was just a matter of pulsing and adding more olive oil and increments of cheese/nuts/salt (whatever was needed), and pulsing again, until I was happy with the flavor and texture. Doing everything in the processor isn't optimal (Jamie Oliver, for example, pulses his basil and pine nuts, but mixes his cheese, salt and olive oil gently in another bowl), but I'll admit that I was moving fast and didn't want the extra bowl to wash up!


Other Saturday pictures
Gills tomatoes
Gills Farm still has tons of zucchini and now has sweet orange tomatoes.

Salad
We joined some friends for lunch and had to bring a salad to feed 9. This is just a combination of green and yellow peppers, red and orange tomatoes, radishes, red onion, feta cheese, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and gently tossed with olive oil and a bit of white wine vinegar.

Fleishers shop
Walking into Fleishers in Kingston, NY

Fleishers lamb
Josh breaking down the lamb that would produce our rack. Moments before we watched him break down a pig. If you go in there, don't hesitate to talk to him -- he is super nice and has a depth of knowledge about his meats as well as how to cook with them.

kingston fire engines
As we were walking back to the car, we came across a street fair organized by the fire department showing off these fabulous old engines from Kingston and surrounding towns. What a treat!

4 comments:

Ann said...

Wow! Gorgeous rack of lamb... and those baskets of squash and tomatoes...! Amazing!

kat said...

wow, does that lamb ever look good!

Stacey Snacks said...

Gorgeous photos, Giff.
And that lamb looks divine!
Sounds like a nice weekend to me.

Giff said...

Thanks ya'll. :)

It was a *very* nice weekend. My fridge is now stuffed with goodies from the farm and I have to make sure none of it goes to waste!