By Josh Niernberg Executive Chef/Owner Bin 707 Foodbar
This is a very involved recipe using nothing more than traditional techniques and equipment. Quality of ingredients are the key! A well versed home cook could prepare this dish in 2 hours prep time and 30 minutes pickup time split between two days.
2 Racks of Colorado Lamb
1 Large Fennel (baseball sized Bulb)
1 Brandywine or similar apple
1 Head of Cauliflower
2 Cups Mirepoix Veg (equal arts equal diced cellery carrots and onion)
½ cup IQF Blueberries (I keep IQF Blueberries in the freezer year round. They are awesome to cook with and add depth)
Good aged Balsamic or a balsamic syrup
1 Pint Carton of Multi Colored Heirloom Tomatoes
8-10 Multi colored Fingerling Potatoes
1½ Cups of Champagne, Sherry or White Balsamic Vinegar
5-6Peeled Fresh Garlic Cloves
Pickling Spice or a mix of Bay, Star Anise, Mustard seed , Cardamom pod
¼ cup Tomato Paste
Fresh Horseradish (Optional)
For the Tomatoes:
Bring 1½ cups Vinegar, 1½ cups water ½ of the garlic, 3tbs Salt To a boil
Wash tomatoes well and let dry in a deep bowl. Pour Pickling mixture over and let cool to room temp
For the puree:
Cut off the Fennel bulb, split in half then cut off the ends. Reserve the stems and fronds for plating and Demi. Peel and Seed the apple and cut into quarters. Split the cauliflower into two halves, then remove the stem and all leaves. Then split in half again so you have 4 quarters. Put all ingredients into a large stock pot with the remaining garlic and a few bay leaves. cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until the fennel is soft and tender. Remove from heat and cool. Once Cool, remove the bay leaf and using a blender, puree the veg with just enough of the cooking liquid to puree smooth. Work in small batches and mix together as you go. Wait to season until you reheat to serve.
For the Demi:
Trim the “Tenderloins” from the whole rack leaving the rack in tact and the approx 8×2” diameter muscle in tact.
Return the Tenderloin to the cooler. Mix the Mirepoix veg with chopped Stems from the fennel & the tomato paste and place in a Med Sized Stock Pot, Place the Lamb Rack on top of the veg and dry roast in a hot oven until browned (425 for 30-45min)
Remove Stock Pot from oven (carefully) place on the rear burner and fill with water (8-10qts) Bring to a boil over medium heat and reduce.
The goal of a good demi is to extract as much as possible. Depending on the time, I would reduce by 50%, refill completely, then reduce again (likely start it on a Saturday afternoon, reduce that day, refill, and simmer over low heat overnight. Once the finished liquid has exposed the veg & or bones, strain well, and return the liquid to the simmer. At this point there should be about 2-3 cups. Reduce to about 1 cup, add blueberries, and 2 Tablespoons of Balsamic. Using the back of a wooden spoon, press the blueberries against the pan to “pop” them, and remove from heat once the mixture will coat the back of a spoon. Strain well and discard the seeds and skins.
For the “Chips”
If you dont own one, find a “Japanese Mandoline” the best kitchen tool a home cook could own. They cost about $30 and last forever (yes the blue plastic ones). Wash the potatoes well. Using the mandoline, slice the potatoes into Chips over a bowl of iced water. Once the ice melts, drain the water and refil with fresh cold water. You can then fry the chips or bake them off on a well oiled cookie sheet at 250 degrees for about 2 hours. Higher temp will cause them to brown and lose the pretty color of these potatoes. Once cooked, season while still warm with Salt and pepper.
For the Lamb:
Clean the “Tenderloin” by removing all silver skin. Then slice into 3/4” thick medalions.
This dish is designed to be a 1 pan pickup in the restaurant, but in a home kitchen you will have to use a small stockpot to reheat the puree. Once warm, season puree with salt to taste.
Preheat a Large Saute Pan over med/high heat. Salt and pepper the lamb loins on both sides, add 1 tbs Cooking Oil, then the Lamb Loins. Dont touch or move them. Just watch. The heat is not scorching hot, it is browning the bottom while the sides begin to turn grey. Once the grey is just shy of ½ way, using a spoon, gently flip the lamb being careful to leave enough room. At this point, add a handfull of the pickled tomatoes, as the lamb finishes cooking. Just before the pink disappears from view, remove the lamb and blistered toms from the pan then add the demi. Warm the demi but dont boil it hard. Season the demi with salt and pepper (finsih demi with butter if you wish)
Using a large Spoon, smooth two heaping spoonfulls of puree on ½ of a plate, then shingle the medalions of lamb. And place 5-6 tomatoes per plate on the exposed puree. Drizzle the Demi around the entire perimeter of the plate, then place 10-12 chips into any remaining exposed puree. Garnish with 1st press Olive Oil (I like Corto from Napa, CA) and 6-8 Fennel Fronds approx 3” long. I finish this plate for service by grating fresh horseradish over the top of the entire plate with a microplane. Fresh Ginger may be easier to come by and would work as well. Both are optional.