Lightly-smoked Lamb Loin
Top-of-the-stove smoking imparts a lightly smoked taste to the lamb, which is served with a basket filled with fresh salad greens dressed with warm raspberry dressing. The basket is made of Parmesan cheese, and, once mastered, the cheese baskets can be used with many other dishes. Even the tomato peel finds a new use, joining flash-fried herbs as a garnish.
- Parmesan Shell
- Vegetable oil spray
- Parmesan cheese - 4 cups, freshly grated
- White Wine Vinegar - 1/4 cup
- Ginger - 2 teaspoons, minced
- Shallots - 4, minced
- Walnut Oil - 1/2 cup
- Fresh Raspberries - 24
- Balsamic Reduction Sauce
- Balsamic Vinegar - 1/2 cup
- Lamb Loins - 4
- Dijon mustard - 2 teaspoons
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Balsamic Vinegar - 2 teaspoons
- Mixed Herbs - 2 tablespoons, (chervil, chives, parsley), chopped
- Pink Peppercorns - 2 teaspoons
- Garlic Cloves - 2, minced
- Fried Herb Garnishes
- Basil Sprigs - 2, separated into individual leaves
- Leek - 1, cleaned and cut in julienne
- Tomato Skin - skin from 4 tomatoes
- Sage Leaves - 6 - 8
- All-Purpose Flour
- Safflower oil for frying
- Spinach - 1 bunch, cleaned, stemmed, and torn into pieces
- Frisee - 1 bunch, cleaned, stemmed, and torn into pieces
- Mesclun - 1 cup (mixed baby salad greens)
- Chervil - 1 bunch, whole, chopped
- Red Tomatoes - 2, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- Yellow tomatoes - 2, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- Pumpkin Seeds - 1 tablespoon, roasted (see Basics)
To make the shells: Lightly spray the outside bottoms of four molds or small bowls. Lightly spray a 6- to 8-inch skillet with vegetable spray. Place over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the cheese over the hot skillet, covering the entire bottom of the skillet. Let the cheese melt together; do not let the bottom of the cheese get dark brown. When the cheese has melted together, lift with a spatula and place over the prepared mold. Let cool for 1 - 2 minutes, until firm; lift and store in a cool dry place until ready for use.
To make the dressing: Combine the vinegar, ginger, and shallots in a small pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in one half of the raspberries. Let stand until just warm. Whisk in the walnut oil and remaining raspberries.
To make the reduction sauce: Simmer the balsamic vinegar in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat until reduced by one third. Let cool and put in a squeeze bottle.
To prepare the lamb: Preheat the oven to 450 F. Remove the silverskin from the loins. Season the loins with salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Let rest for 5 minutes. Mix the herbs and peppercorns together. Cover the loins with mustard and roll in the herb mix to coat. Lightly spray a skillet or grill pan with vegetable oil and put over medium-high heat. Sear the loins for 1 minute on each side, then place in single layer in a baking pan. Bake for 2 minutes. Place a heatproof bowl of water in a large pan surrounded by hickory chips. Add the lamb and cover the pan with foil. Put over medium-high heat and smoke for 3 minutes. Remove from heat but leave the foil in place until ready to serve.
To fry the herbs: Pat the leaves and tomato skin dry with paper towels. Put in a paper bag with the flour and shake to very lightly coat the herbs. Heat the oil to 370 F in a deep fryer or saucepan. Toss in the herbs, a few at a time; let fry for 10 - 15 seconds, until very crisp but not browned, then immediately remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Let the oil return to temperature between each addition.
To serve: Place a Parmesan basket in the center of each plate. Slice the lamb loins and arrange the slices around the basket. Toss the salad greens with the tomato dice, pumpkin seeds, and three-fourths of the raspberry dressing and divide them among the baskets. Drizzle the lamb and salads with the remaining dressing. Drizzle the plates with balsamic reduction sauce. Garnish with the fried herbs and tomato skin.