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Dinner Tonight! | QUICK FIX

The Rack Tactic

April 11, 2001|MAYI BRADY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

We all know that preparing a holiday meal can be a stressful endeavor. But unless your immediate family numbers in the double digits, it needn't be. This Easter dinner can be doubled or tripled and still be completed in record time.

Those silly paper booties that markets insist on putting on a rack of lamb aren't terribly elegant, so ask your butcher to "french" the bones instead. Removing the meat and fat from the rib bones makes for a nicer presentation and provides a handle for each chop as well.

Serve the lamb and riso with green beans. To make them, steam 1 pound of trimmed green beans until crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat and saute 1/4 cup slivered almonds until golden, 2 minutes. Add the beans and salt and pepper to taste to the skillet and heat a few more minutes.

Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb

Active Work Time: 10 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Relax and enjoy.

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme or parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon butter

1 (2-pound) rack of lamb, bones frenched

Heat the oven to 475 degrees.

Combine the bread crumbs, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat, then add the bread-crumb mixture and cook, stirring until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

Season the lamb and place it meaty side up in a small roasting pan. Roast for 10 minutes, them remove it from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Pat the bread-crumb mixture onto the meaty side of the rack of lamb and return to the oven. Cook until the lamb registers 135 degrees on a meat thermometer for medium-rare, about 10 to 15 minutes. Slice into chops and serve.

4 servings. Each serving: 510 calories; 485 mg sodium; 153 mg cholesterol; 36 grams fat; 16 grams saturated fat; 6 grams carbohydrates; 37 grams protein; 0.34 gram fiber.

MENU

Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb

Lemon Mint Riso

Green Beans with Almonds

SHOPPING LIST

Slivered almonds

1 pound green beans

1 (2-pound) rack of lamb

1 bunch mint

1 bunch parsley

1 (1-pound) box riso

1 bunch rosemary

1 bunch thyme

STAPLES

Fresh bread crumbs

Butter

Garlic

Lemon

GAME PLAN

30 minutes before: Mince garlic and herbs; combine with bread crumbs, salt and pepper.

25 minutes before: Begin roasting lamb and cooking riso.

20 minutes before: Toast bread crumb mixture. Steam green beans.

15 minutes before: Finish roasting lamb.

5 minutes before: Grate lemon zest and mince mint. Add to riso. Finish green beans.

Lemon and Mint Riso

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 15 minutes

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon minced mint

Salt, pepper

1 cup riso, orzo or other rice-shaped pasta

1 tablespoon butter

Combine the zest, mint and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl and set aside.

Bring about 1 1/2 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the riso and cook until tender, about 9 minutes. Drain the riso and toss with the butter and reserved lemon zest mixture.

4 servings. Each serving: 75 calories; 103 mg sodium; 8 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.67 gram fiber.

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