I spent this past Wednesday afternoon at Arlington Cemetery for the internment of my Uncle Steve. A Colonel in the air force, he was laid to rest with impressive ceremony. There were the men and women who moved his casket from the hearse to the horse-drawn carriage and finally to the grave. More soldiers saluted him, firing their weapons. There were soldiers to march and a small band behind them.
Joining the tears I shed saying goodbye to my Uncle, were tears of humble pride in the way our country laid its servicemen and women to rest, there in view of the Pentagon. It represents a commitment and a value system, a deep respect for service and sacrifice.
This week, many are celebrating service and sacrifice in church services held around the world. They are values many of us celebrate daily whether our acts serve our country or communities, our families or the person for whom we pause to offer a “good morning” and a smile.
These are values worth taking a moment to reflect upon this weekend before returning to a joyous celebration of spring’s return, and with it the year’s first fresh flavors to appear on our communal tables. Happy Easter.
Herb and Cornmeal Crusted Rack of Lamb
You can ask your butcher to crack the bones between the ribs to make the cooked meat easier to carve.
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbs grainy mustard
- 1/4 cup mixed, chopped, fresh herbs including rosemary, parsley, chives, mint
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 2 tbs Porcini olive oil
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 8 rib rack of lamb, Frenched and cut in half
- Sprinkle minced garlic with salt and mash into a paste. Mix together, in a small bowl, with mustard, herbs, cornmeal and Porcini olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- If meat has not been Frenched, cut the meat from the top of the bones, then cut away between the bones. If there is still a thick layer of fat over the meat, carefully cut it away leaving just the thin skin of fat behind. You will remove some meat in this process. It’s okay.
- Warm vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper and sear on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.
- Remove lamb from hear and let rest until cool enough to touch. Spread cornmeal, herb crust mixture over the surface of the meat.
- Place lamb in a roasting pan and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, or to 125 degrees.
- Turn oven up to 500 degrees and cook 2-3 minutes longer to brown crust. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes, tented with foil.
- Carve lamb between ribs. The crust may fall off. Just serve it over the lamb. To impress, carve the rack in sets of two, three or four ribs and serve them upright with the ribs intertwined.