Even though the warm weather doesn't seem to be sticking around juuust yet, I have already switched my mind into summer-food mode. And that means less thick and hearty, and more fresh and vibrant. Summer makes me think of flourishing plants, which makes me think of my herb garden, which makes me think of - yep, you guessed it. Pesto! For all you pesto lovers, get ready for the ultimate combination - mint-basil pesto with a hint of lemon, atop a succulently seasoned rack of lamb. Drool. This recipe should be a staple for summer soirées, backyard barbecue's, and dock-side dinners.
Taken from the kitchen of Giada (obviously)...
What you'll need
1 1/2 cups lightly packed fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
3/4 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/3 cup, plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 (1 1/2 pounds each) racks of lamb, trimmed
What to do:
For the pesto:
Blend mint, basil, cheese, lemon juice, garlic, 3/4 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp of pepper in a food processor until the herbs are finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually blend in 1/3 cup of oil until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
1 1/2 cup mint leaves
3/4 cup basil leaves
2 tbsp Parmesan
2 tbsp lemon juice
Lightly toasted walnuts
Key word LIGHTLY, so they don't end up like this. Walnuts go from
toasted to burnt in the blink of an eye. They only need about 5 minutes.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Store in the fridge if you're not using it right away.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Generously sprinkle the lamb racks with salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a grill pan or heavy large skillet over high heat. Place 1 lamb rack in the skillet and cook just until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the lamb rack meat side up on a heavy large baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining 2 lamb racks.
Roast the lamb in the oven until cooked to desired doneness, about 20 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer the lamb racks to a work surface. Set aside for 10 minutes. Cut the lamb between the bones into single chops. Spread the pesto over 1 cut side of each chop. Arrange the chops, pesto side up, on plates or a platter, and serve.
Do-Ahead Tip: The pesto and lamb racks may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead. Cover the pesto and lamb separately and refrigerate. Allow extra time for the chilled lamb to roast.
Pair with grilled vegetables, a green salad, and home made garlic bread.
And a beer.
This was AMAZING, likely one of the best recipes I have tried in a while. The light, fresh pesto pairs perfectly with a tender piece of lamb. This is a great dish if you want something tasty to eat, but don't have the time to prepare an extravagant meal. I actually made the pesto the night before and (since I didn't have 3 racks of lamb, only 1) I used the rest of it on sandwiches and in salad dressing for the next few days. So much better than a piece of meat slathered with BBQ, HP, Diana, or any other kind of artificially created sauce.
Happy hump day!