Dinner

By Emma Haberman | June 14, 2011

Photo: Emma Haberman

Spring quickly turned into summer, and summer quickly turned into monsoon season. Confusing for the umbrella, confusing for the tummy. Maybe Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs isn’t so outlandish – weather affects our eating habits. We may not build our houses out of pancakes (not that I wouldn’t), but we depend on the seasons to provide us with fresh, tasty produce, and changing weather influences our cravings. This weather has me confused about what to cook, so I’ve decided to hold onto spring for a few more days.

Photo: Emma Haberman

In the meat world, there’s no greater spring star than lamb. Lamb is fresh in the spring, and is great meat to cook with since it pairs well with a diverse range of flavor profiles. It’s a staple of many different cultures; North Africa, the Middle East, the United Kingdom (especially Scotland and Wales), Central and Southern Asia, India and Greece all include lamb in their most popular national dishes.

Photo: Emma Haberman

To beat the recent heat, avoid a heavy sauce and try pairing a simple rack of lamb with a light Greek salad and refreshing tzatziki sauce. A rack of lamb can be an investment, but the salad ingredients are inexpensive and are always good to have in your fridge. This dish can serve several guests, or can be stored as leftovers to be wrapped in a sleeve of pita for an easy lunch. Plus, let’s face it, you probably deserve a treat.

Photo: Emma Haberman

Rack of Lamb with Greek Salad and Tzatziki Sauce Recipe

Servings: 4

Ingredients

Rack of Lamb
  • 11/2 lbs frenched rack of lamb, or about 8 chops
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Greek Salad
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can organic garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • Handful of kalamata olives
  • Feta crumbles
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp juice from kalamata olives
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dried dill
Tzatziki
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1/4 tsp dill
  • Pinch of salt
  • Splash of olive oil

Directions

To Make Rack of Lamb:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix dry ingredients together and rub on all sides of the rack. In a medium-sized skillet, heat up the olive oil and place the rack in fat side down. Let brown for 3 minutes, then turn and brown the underside for 2 minutes. Place in a baking dish fat side up, surround with garlic cloves, and roast for 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees F for medium rare. Let rest for 10 minutes then cut into chops. The lamb should be brown on the outside and rosy pink in the center. Serve with salad and tzatziki.

To Make Greek Salad:

Chop the pepper, onion and cucumber evenly into square pieces, cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters and cut the olives in half. Mix the vegetables in a large bowl and top with feta. For dressing, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, olive and lemon juice, salt and pepper in a cup and pour over salad. Add a splash of dill and toss well.

To Make Tzatziki:

In a food processor, blend the ingredients until sauce is smooth. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes so that sauce thickens.

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