Flaming Rack of Lamb Encrouté – a Passover Spectacle
Lamb is an indispensable Passover main course, but many Americans are unfamiliar with its preparation, and timid in their choice of methods. Here is an infallible procedure:
When shopping for your rack of lamb at Central Market or Whole Foods, cruise through the wine department on your way to the check-out counter and down as many shots of whatever they are sampling as possible! If the server tries to withhold wine from you, point to your butcher-paper wrapped selection and say clearly, “I AM BUYING A RACK OF LAMB.” The server should then pour you an extra-large serving of alcohol. This will help prevent sticker shock when that slab of little pointy bones and teentsy chops rings up on the register!
Marinate the entire rack of lamb, covered in the refrigerator, for 24 hours or longer in a half-bottle of some nice raspberry-walnut or raspberry-hazelnut salad dressing and a dollop of red wine. This is the same red wine you will use to make charoses, a mixture of apples, walnuts, raisins and honey which symbolizes the mortar used by Hebrew slaves to build the Egyptian pyramids. You may want to sample this wine while you’re chopping apples to decide if you will also serve it at your Passover service, or if you want something fancier, or maybe a nice white instead. Sample it well; you can’t be too careful!
Drain the marinated lamb onto a broiling pan so that forms an arch like the one in St. Louis. Using a spoon, spread creamy horseradish over all exposed surfaces. Press a layer of crushed walnut meats into the horseradish. Pour yourself a glass of wine and pop the meat under the hot broiler. Set the timer for 15 minutes.
Ooops! Is that a call of Nature? Could it be all that wine? Well, better hurry it up – don’t forget to wash your hands after!! – because something certainly smells interesting in the kitchen, and it hasn’t been nearly 15 minutes yet, has it? Is that smoke?
Quickly remove the lamb from the broiler! Wow, walnut oil must be really flammable, ya think? After scraping off the charcoaled layer of walnuts and horseradish, slice into the thickest part of the cut, between the two center chops. If it doesn’t bleed, it’s done. Have another glass of wine, and Happy Passover!
– Mariann Wizard