A recipe for Lamb with Rainbow Carrots and Side Salad – serves two, for date night.
Start with Vegetables
Start by washing and peeling one bunch of fresh rainbow carrots. Do not remove tops, these are so, so good for you and you should try to like them. Carefully slice them only once directly in the middle, so as to make sure they are as even as you can make them. I like to use rainbow carrots here because they are so pretty in the middle and they have such a fun color aspect to the overall plate.
Lay all the carrots face up on parchment paper on a sheet pan and lightly drizzle avocado oil (or any flavorless oil) over the top and sprinkle only pepper on them. When you are cooking, it’s important not to salt every aspect of the dish because the whole thing can become too salty quickly. However, everything should be seasoned to some extent unless you are really focusing on a true flavor.
When the vegetables are dressed, roast them at 375 for 10-15 minutes. Well, cooking books will tell you that Honestly, I would recommend 9 minutes on 375 and then turning the oven off and letting them stay in there until the oven cools down. This adds a sort of “soft on the inside” effect that I like, but either way will get the job done.
While you are waiting for those to cook …
Make the Salad
Start with about 2 ½ cups of fresh arugula and wash thoroughly. Arugula is important because it adds a peppery flavor in the salad that just isn’t the same with any other lettuce, so try not to replace it. Pat dry with a vegetable towel and set aside in a serving bowl.
Chop up fresh mint, along with blackberries, julienned pear slices and crumbled blue cheese. Next, caramelize some walnuts just by tossing a cup of walnuts into a high walled, non-stick pan on high heat. Add a ¼ cup of brown sugar to the nuts with a pinch of salt.
When the sugar has melted and has coated the nuts, turn the heat off and wait for them to cool. Then, break up the candied walnuts and add them to the salad as well. Toss the salad in a quick balsamic dressing (equal parts balsamic vinegar and avocado oil; be careful not to over dress) and set aside.
For the Lamb
We’re grilling, obviously. You can cook lamb in the oven, but that’s way less fun and much less controlled. So, take your meat out and rub it in a blend of garlic powder, salt, pepper, lemon zest and freshly chopped mint. Grill both of your chops on a preheated grill top on medium high heat for about three minutes each side.
If you are unsure, tighten our hand into a fist and push on the muscle at the base of your thumb. That’s what a medium piece of meat should feel like when it is done. After you flip the first time, baste the meat again in a roughly whisked mixture of ¼ cup honey and 2 tablespoons of pure pomegranate juice. Once removed from the grill, let it rest for 5 minutes.
To the Plate! (A chilled one, preferably)
*You always serve food on a cold/warm plate, based on what temperature the bottom layer of the plate is. In this case, we’re putting the salad on the bottom so the plate should be cold since it’s a chilled salad.*
This is the FUN PART. In cooking school, 50% of your grade comes from how food looks because we eat with our eyes first!
Drizzle a little balsamic on the bottom of the plate to start (you can make it thicker so it sticks to the plate for a better effect without altering the flavor by just adding a little cornstarch to it so that it doesn’t spread all over the plate. You can do that to any sauce and that is called “roux.” (Pronounced “Roo”) Then put a little heap of the salad that is already tossed in the upper third of the plate.
This technique is called “the rule of thirds” and it is used in art as well. It is an eye trick to draw attraction to the main event on the plate. Lay two of the carrot halves diagonally opposite of each other on top of the salad. Then lean the hot lamb gently on the side so that the bone is pointing upwards. The whole goal is to have height on the plate. Main courses will usually have “high point attraction” which is a plating technique.
Eat now … Dishes later!