Roast Lamb in Phyllo Dough
A classic dish, rare lamb is wrapped in crisp phyllo dough. Chef Koperski’s touches include stuffing each lamb loin with its tenderloin, and wrapping basil leaves into the phyllo for extra flavor punch. The wrapping procedure only sounds difficult. Just imagine that the stuffed lamb loin positioned at the end of the phyllo strip is looking down a pathway with alternating footsteps -- then place the basil leaves on those imaginary footsteps. The paired incisions in the phyllo strip allow you to wrap in the edge as you roll up the lamb loins and fillets.
- Racks of lamb - 2
- Carrot - 1, chopped
- Celery Stalks - 2, chopped
- Onion - 1/2, chopped
- Dry Red Wine - 2 cups
- Water - 1 quart
- Bay Leaves - 2
- Thyme Sprigs - 1
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Clarified Butter - 1/2 cup
- Phyllo Dough - 2 sheets
- Basil leaves - 4
- Dried-tomato puree - 1 tablespoon
- Eggs - 2, separated
- Broccoli - 1 head
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon
- To Finish
- Garlic Cloves - 8, unpeeled
- Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoons, cut into small pieces
- Black Olives - 10, pitted and julienned
To prepare the sauce: Separate the loins and fillets from the bones and trim smooth, saving the trimmings. Wrap the loins and fillets in plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator. Break up and chop the bones, then put the bones and reserved scraps in a large pot over medium-high heat and pan-roast until they are well browned. Add the carrot, celery, onion, wine, and water. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and add the bay leaves and thyme. Simmer until reduced to 2 cups of liquid. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and set the sauce aside; keep warm.
To prepare the lamb: Let the loins and fillets return to room temperature and unwrap. Make an incision along the side of each loin and slip a fillet inside; press to seal. Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Put 2 tablespoons of the butter in a non-stick saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter is hot, sear the fillets on all sides. Do not cook them all the way through; as soon as they are browned, remove from the pan. Wrap in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface. Brush with clarified butter, then fold in half across the middle to create a rectangle. Lightly brush with butter again. Lay one of the stuffed loins at one end of the phyllo. Place 4 basil leaves along each side of the strip of phyllo, alternating the positions so that the leaves do not overlap in the center. Make a short incision in the phyllo on each side at the ends of the loin, reaching from the side of the phyllo just to the loin. Make the same incisions at 4-inch intervals along the sides of the phyllo, pairing the incisions across the dough. Fold in the ends of the phyllo at the first incisions, pressing to seal, then roll the dough around the fillet. Continue rolling, stopping at each pair of incisions to fold in the edges. Press the seam to seal and set aside. Repeat with the other phyllo sheet and loin. Brush the packets with butter and set aside.
To prepare the accompaniments: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter 2 timbales or ramekins. Blend the tomato paste with the egg yolk and set aside. Whisk the egg white to firm peaks. Fold a large spoonful of beaten egg white into the tomato mixture to lighten it, then fold the mixture into the egg whites, being careful to preserve volume. Fill the timbales and bake 5 minutes, until puffed and beginning to color. Remove and set aside in a warm place.
Trim the broccoli and separate into segments. Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil and add the broccoli. 2 to 4 minutes, until just becoming tender. Remove and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain on paper towels.
To finish the lamb: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Heat the remaining clarified butter in a large heatproof saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic heads and lamb packets and brown for 4 minutes on each side. Place in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes to finish, or longer, to taste.
To serve: Bring the sauce back to a low boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the cold butter a few bits at a time. Cut the ends off each lamb packet and cut the packets crosswise into four slices, revealing the pink centers. Stand four slices in a semi-circle on one side of each warmed serving plate. Unmold a tomato souffle in the center of each semi-circle. Spoon sauce over the lamb slices. Sprinkle the olives over the meat. Rewarm the broccoli in a little butter and arrange in a semi-circle opposite the lamb. Place 4 roasted garlic pods on each plate.