Creole Herb Crusted Lamb

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This rack of lamb recipe is simply delicious. Beautifully coated with a flavourful herb crust and cooked to perfection, serve it at your next dinner party and impress your guests. When purchasing lamb, ask for lamb that has been grass-fed from birth to market. It is healthiest for you and delicious!

Serves 4 

INGREDIENTS
For the Lamb:
2 racks of lamb, cut in half with 3 bones per serving
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil(for browning)
4 to 5 garlic cloves
1 bouquet of thyme
2 tablespoons Creole  mustard*

For the Herb Crust:
3 cups Japanese Panko breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cup  fresh parsley, stems included
1 cup baby spinach
1/3 cup of mint (optional)
4 sprigs thyme (leaves only)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black, pepper to taste
1/4 cup  Parmesan cheese, grated
Splash of  olive oil

DIRECTIONS:
Heat oven to 400°F.

Select a cast iron skillet.

Remove the fat cap if present. Cut each rack into 3-4 bones each (approximately one serving).  NOTE: Do not cut all the way to the meat. Season on all sides with salt and pepper.

Heat the skillet to very hot, add olive oil until it is shimmering.  Add a bouquet of thyme, cloves of garlic. Place the lamb in skillet and sear on all sides of meat  and using tongs sear the ends, to give it a nice dark color.

Once browned, place the racks skin-side-down in the skillet, and into the oven for 12 minutes.

Preparing the Crust: Place the panko  breadcrumbs, herbs, spinach and Parmesan cheese into a blender or a  food processor and pulse several times until you have a very fine  green crumb. Add a splash of the olive oil and continue pulsing for a few more seconds. NOTE: It will still look like dry crumbs, but when you pinch it, it should stick together well. Pour onto a plate.

When lamb has been in for 12 minutes, remove from oven and brush all sides with  mustard. Then press each rack into the crumb mixture, coating on all sides and pressing it to get an nice even coating. Shake off any excess. Dip several times to ensure an even coating. Allow meat to rest for a bit.

Place the racks (this time skin-side-up) in a baking dish.  Place back into the oven for another 8-10 minutes (longer if you want well-done), Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of each rack. NOTE: The chops may be cooked to 145 °F (medium rare),160 °F (medium), or 170 °F (well done).

Serve the lamb with potatoes boulangère and courgettes provençal, but you can serve with anything you find fitting to your taste.

Cook’s Notes:
You can substitute Dijon mustard for the Creole mustard, if desired.

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Spinach Salad with Pears and Gorgonzola

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Pears with gorgonzola is  just one of those classic combinations. Put them in salad with any kind of greens. Pick what you like best, anything from a spicy arugula or watercress to a mild butter lettuce.We used fresh baby spinach.The same goes for the pears: Bosc, Bartlett, Anjou or Comice would all be great choices.

And since the ingredients in this pear salad are so delicious, a champagne vinaigrette with a hint of lemon juice and Dijon mustard worked best for this salad. A heavy dressing would mask the delicate flavors.  A sprinkling of cheese, walnuts and  pomegranate arils also adds flavors and makes for  delicious lighter first course to start off a meal.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 tablespoons minced shallot
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
10 ounces baby spinach, washed and dried
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese*
1 medium Bosc pear, cored and thinly sliced*
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (arils), for garnish
1/2 toasted walnuts, roughly chopped, for garnish

Champagne Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:
For the Salad:
In a large bowl, add shallot,  salt and pepper. Add the olive oil, whisking constantly while drizzling the oil slowly. Add the spinach and toss with tongs until the leaves are well coated.

For Champagne Vinaigrette:
In a small bowl or glass jar, add all the ingredients except the olive oil. Mix well, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil  and whisk until the mixture is emulsified. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve, evenly divide spinach greens between 4 salad plates. Top each plate with cheese and garnish with pear slices, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts and serve with a drizzle of champagne vinaigrette.

*Cook’s Notes:
You can substitute Blue cheese or Roquefort cheese for the Gorgonzola.
Any variety of apple can also be used as a substitute for the pears.

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Poulet Yassa (Yassa Chicken)

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A traditional chicken dish from the Casamance region of Senegal, Poulet Yassa (Yassa Chicken ), is one of the most famous African recipes and is found in Senegalese restaurants the world over. For best results let the chicken marinate overnight; in Africa, this is essential to tenderize the sometimes tougher African fowl. It is also very good when made with fish, see: Poisson Yassa. For the simplest yassa, make the marinade from just oil, lemon juice, onions, and a little mustard.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1/2 cup peanut oil (or any cooking oil)
one chicken, cut into serving-sized pieces
4 to 6 onions, sliced
8 Tablespoons lemon juice
8 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 bay leaf
4 cloves minced garlic
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons Arome Maggi® sauce or soy sauce
1 chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Kosher salt, to taste
1 small cabbage, cut into chunks
2 carrots, cut into chunks

Directions:
One day before: Cut the onions into thin slices. To make the marinade, combine onions, mustard, lemon juice, chile pepper, salt, and pepper in a  large non-metallic  bowl. Place the pieces of chicken into the marinade, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate over night for the best results.

The next day, remove the chicken  from the marinade. Reserve the marinade to make the sauce.

Cook  the chicken using on the following methods:

  • Cooking method 1: Grill chicken over a charcoal fire (or bake
    it in a hot oven preheated to 375 F) until chicken is lightly browned but not done.
  • Cooking method 2: Sauté chicken for a few minutes on each side in hot oil in a cast iron skillet.

While chicken is browning, remove onions from marinade and sauté them in a large Dutch oven until translucent. Add  the reserved marinade and the vegetables and bring to a slow boil and cook at a boil for ten minutes. Next, add the chicken  to the sauce, cover and simmer over medium heat until chicken is tender, about 30-40 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.

To serve, spoon the vegetables into a soup platter and top with the chicken and ladle the sauce over the chicken.

This dish is also best served with sides like  rice, couscous  or fufu. For a more authenitc meal, Yassa Chicken is also served with  ginger beer or green tea with mint with or after the meal.

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TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor