Lamb Loin in Herb Crust with Potato Cake
Jean Louis Neichel fills his lamb presentation with Mediterranean flavors. Olive oil, garlic, capers, rosemary, even chorizo find their way into this lamb loin, crusted with herbs and served with a golden potato cake, mushrooms, and seasoned vegetables.
- Potato Cakes
- Potatoes - 4 large, Yukon
- Pepper - freshly ground
- Olive oil - 3 tablespoons
- Herb Crust
- Garlic Cloves - 15 to 20, large, peeled
- Capers - 20 large
- Olive oil - 1/3 cup
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Rosemary - 3 sprigs, stemmed and chopped
- Chives - 8, chopped
- Parsley Leaves - 10, stemmed and chopped
- Chervil Sprigs - 8, stemmed and chopped
- Thyme Sprigs - 8, chopped, flowering
- Lamb Loins - 4
- Pepper - freshly ground
- Olive Oil - 3 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons
- Garlic Cloves - 4, crushed
- Rosemary Sprigs - 4
- Chorizo Sausage - 2 ounces, chopped
- Carrots - 4, small, blanched
- Broccoli Florets - 8, small, blanched
- Haricots Verts (Blue Lake Green Beans) - 8, blanched
- Butter - 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick), unsalted
- Mushrooms - 1 cup, cleaned and roughly chopped, wild
- Morels - 4 whole small, cleaned
- Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Tomato - 1 large, peeled, seeded, and diced
- Lamb Stock or Veal Stock - 1-1/2 cups
- Butter - 1 tablespoon, unsalted
- Thyme Sprigs - 16 small
To prepare the potato cakes: Peel the potatoes. Shred into thin strips on a grater over a towel. Pat with the towel to remove moisture. Season with salt and pepper, tossing to mix. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and make four circles of potato shreds in the pan. Press with a spatula around the sides and on top to form in cakes as they cook. Drizzle on a little more olive oil. When lightly browned on the first side, about 5 minutes, turn and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes on the other side. Drizzle lightly again with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside over medium-low heat.
To prepare the crust: Put the garlic, capers, olive oil, and salt in a processor and process until roughly pureed; leave some texture. Stir in the chopped herbs. Set aside.
To prepare the lamb: Trim the loins of any fat and silverskin. Season all over with salt and pepper. Heat the 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan or skillet over high heat and add the lamb. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for 4 minutes. Return the heat to high. Turn the loins over and drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil; put the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs in the pan. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Heat the broiler to high. Top the lamb loins with the herb crust mixture, pressing it firmly in place. Broil until browned, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
To prepare the vegetables: Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat and add the chorizo sausage, carrots, broccoli florets, and haricots verts. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring to break up the sausage and cook on all sides.
In a large saute pan or skillet, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms and morels. Saute until golden brown, tossing frequently, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside; keep warm.
Put the olive oil and tomato dice in a small saucepan, toss to coat, and place over medium heat. Let stew 2 to 3 minutes.
To make the pan juice sauce: Place the lamb loins on a warmed plate and set aside in a warm place; return the saute pan to medium-high heat. Add the stock and stir up the browned bits from the bottom. Increase the heat to high and reduce the liquid by half. Remove from heat and strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Stir in the tablespoon of butter.
To serve: Place a crusted lamb loin to one side on each warmed serving plate. Place a potato cake next to the lamb. Place two broccoli florets and a carrot on one side of each potato cake, and a small mound of tomato dice and 2 crossed green beans on the other side. Sprinkle the mixed mushrooms around the lamb and put a whole morel on each potato cake. Drizzle with pan juices. Garnish the lamb and tomato dice with a few sprigs of thyme.