Herb-Crusted Saddle of Lamb with Shallot Puree and Rosemary
Chef Philip Howard uses an unusual technique to apply herb crust to his saddle of lamb: he creates a chilled paste, then broils it over the lamb. His creative composition of lamb saddle, boning and then rebuilding the saddle with a tenderloin and tenderloin puree, is also unusual. Both the crust and lamb saddle rest overnight in the refrigerator; you will need to plan ahead.
- Herb Crust
- Bread Crumbs - 1 cup
- Parmesan Cheese - 1 tablespoon, ground
- A few parsley stems - 1 tablespoon, finely chopped
- Rosemary - 1 tablespoon, finely chopped
- Thyme - 1 tablespoon, finely chopped
- Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Garlic Clove - 1, minced
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick)
- Egg - 1 small
- Saddle of Lamb - 1
- Roasted Garlic Cloves
- Garlic Cloves - 12, unpeeled
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon thyme
- Thyme - 1 sprig
- Shallot Puree and Vegetables
- Shallots - 20, thinly sliced
- Unsalted Butter - 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/3 cup
- Waxy Potatoes - 12, small
- Spinach - 2 cups, fresh
- Artichoke Hearts - 3, cooked, quartered
- Olive Oil - 3 tablespoons
- Lamb Sauce
- Reduced Lamb Stock (see Cooking Basics) - 2 cups
- Rosemary Sprigs - 1
- Tomatoes - 2, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1/4-inch dice
- Rosemary Sprigs - 6
To make the herb crust: Combine the dry ingredients and garlic in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds. Gradually add the melted butter and the egg. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on a work surface. Put the herb paste on the plastic and cover with another sheet of plastic wrap. Roll the paste between the plastic wrap with a rolling pin until 3/4 inch thick. Place on a firm surface like a baking sheet and refrigerate overnight.
To prepare the lamb: Take the saddle of lamb off the bone, reserving the two small fillets which lie on either side of the bone, or ask the butcher to do this for you. Keep the sides of the saddle attached by the thin piece covering the backbone. Remove any excess fat. With the saddle laying open like a book in front of you, trim off the thin portion running up each edge, leaving the large chop meat portion attached.
Puree one of the tenderloins in a food processor. Spread the meat puree down the center of the saddle, where the bone was removed. Center the other tenderloin over this space, filling it in almost flat. Wrap in plastic wrap in this position and place on a baking sheet; refrigerate overnight.
To roast the garlic: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon of the butter, and the thyme in the oven and cook 25 to 30 minutes, until the garlic cloves are soft. Remove and set aside; keep warm.
To cook the lamb: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Season the lamb on both sides with salt and pepper. Place in a large ovenproof skillet, fat-side down, over medium-high heat and cook until the fat is browned and crisp. Baste the meat with the rendered fat. Put in the oven for 16 to 18 minutes; the meat should still be very pink, and springy when touched.
While the meat is cooking:
To make the shallot puree: Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until the shallots are soft and translucent. Add the cream and increase the heat to medium-high; bring to a boil and remove from heat. Puree in a blender. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and keep warm.
To prepare the potatoes: Trim the ends of each potato and cut the potatoes in half. Put in a large skillet with 1/2 cup (1 stick) of the butter and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until the potatoes are soft and golden on each side. Set aside and keep warm.
To finish the lamb: When the lamb comes out of the oven, preheat the broiler. Take the herb crust out of the refrigerator and cut a rectangle to fit over the lamb. Peel the plastic wrap from one side and place on the lamb. Peel away the top layer of the plastic. Place the lamb with the crust under the broiler and brown. Remove and let rest for 20 minutes.
To prepare the spinach and artichoke hearts: Melt the remaining butter in a large skillet and add the spinach. Cook over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Saute the artichoke hearts in 1-1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.
To prepare the sauce: Bring the lamb stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the rosemary and the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, and add the diced tomato. Cook until the sauce reduces slightly and is syrupy.
To serve: Place a line of wilted spinach across the center of each plate. Put a spoonful of garlic puree on one side, then draw the outside edge of the puree outward and down, making a comma shape. Repeat in the opposite direction on the other side of the spinach. Slice across the lamb saddle, including some of the tenderloin meat, and place the slices on the spinach, overlapping the slices. Repeat with remaining plates. Divide the roasted garlic cloves among the plates and scatter to one side on each. Place a sauteed artichoke bottom on each plate, and divide the potatoes among the plates. Spoon lamb sauce near the lamb slices on each plate. Garnish each with a rosemary sprig.