Rack of Lamb with Creamy Polenta and Wide Beans
Tender lamb chops nestle on a bed of green beans which have been seasoned with nutmeg and savory. The lamb is served with a roll of creamy polenta wrapped in a spring roll wrapper and fried until crisp. Polenta can be tempermental; Sarah Fritschner’s suggestions in Cook’s Illustrated, January/February ‘95, are incorporated here to make the initial polenta preparation more foolproof.
- Water - 4 Cups, boiling
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Corn Meal - 1 cup, fine
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Parmesan Cheese - 3/4 cup
- Prosciutto - 2 slices, diced
- Thyme - 1/2 sprig, minced
- Spring roll wrappers - 4
- Lamb - 2 racks
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons
- Garlic - 4 cloves, minced
- Thyme - 2 sprigs
- Green Beans - 2 cups wide (Italian or snap), blanched
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Nutmeg - 1/4 teaspoon
- Savory - 1 tablespoon, minced
- Thyme - 4 sprigs
To make the polenta: In the top of a double boiler over gently simmering water, pour in the boiling water and salt. Sprinkle the corn meal over the water, adding it gradually and whisking constantly to create a vortex in the water. Once the corn meal has been moistened and absorbed by the water, cover the pan and cook 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours, stirring every 10 minutes, until the polenta is thick enough to pull away from the sides of the pan. Check the water in the bottom pan of the double boiler occasionally to be sure it does not boil dry. When the polenta is ready, remove from heat and stir in the butter, Parmesan cheese, prosciutto, and thyme. Season with nutmeg and pepper. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Grease a baking sheet. Put the polenta into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe onto the baking sheet to make 8-inch-by-1-1/2-inch strips. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
To prepare the lamb: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Season the racks with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons the butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and sear the racks on all sides. Add the remaining butter and garlic cloves to the pan, place the thyme sprigs on the racks, and put in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 3 minutes.
To prepare the beans: Melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat and add the beans. Toss to coat, then heat through, 2 – 3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and savory.
To finish the polenta: Spread the wrappers on a work surface and brush with egg white. Place a polenta strip near the edge of each spring roll wrapper and bring one side of the wrapper up and over the polenta. Roll up half way. Fold in the two sides, pressing together slightly. Roll up the rest of the way, pressing to seal.
Heat the oil to 350 F in a deep-fat fryer or deep pan. Place the wrapped polenta rolls in the fat and fry until golden-brown. Remove with a wire lifter or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. If necessary, fry in two batches.
To serve: Slice the lamb into individual chops and divide among the plates, fanning the lamb chops. Spoon wide beans on each plate beside the chops. Slice the polenta rolls in half. Cut one half of each roll again, end-to-end, on the bias. Place one “round” polenta roll half and two “bias” halves on each plate. Spoon lamb jus over the lamb and on the plate. Garnish each with a sprig of thyme.